HONG KONG Hong Kong all-rounder Irfan Ahmed has been suspended and charged with failing to disclose a match-fixing approach, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said.
The 26-year-old Pakistan-born cricketer faces a ban of upto five years if he is found guilty by an ICC tribunal after falling foul of the world governing body's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU).
"Failing to disclose to the ACSU (without undue delay) full details of any approaches or invitations received by the Participant to engage in conduct that would amount to a breach of the Anti-Corruption Code," the ICC said in a statement on Monday.
Ahmed's lawyer said his player was not corrupt and had rejected an approach to fix games from a former Pakistan player.
"(The former cricketer) was like a father figure to him and (Ahmed) was approached with a corrupt offer which he rejected," Australian barrister Kevin Egan told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"But the only criminality alleged against him by the ICC was simply having failed to report that approach.
"At the moment we're in negotiations with the ICC and those negotiations have not yet concluded. I expect that within the next couple of weeks we will have come to a conclusion."
Ahmed had played in six one day internationals and eight Twenty20 matches for Hong Kong, but has missed fixtures and the tour of the United Arab Emirates after pulling out of the squad in October for personal reasons.
Hong Kong Cricket Association chief executive Tim Cutler offered support to Ahmed, who was expected to return for the World Twenty20 in India in March.
"We are firmly committed to upholding the integrity of our sport and we fully support the ICC's broadened concern around this grave threat to the soul of cricket," Cutler was quoted as saying by www.espncricinfo.com.
"We must always put player welfare at the centre of our concerns and no matter what, there is a young man here who needs to be our immediate concern and we will be there for any support we can offer."
(Writing by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2016 13:03:22 IST