PCB not in a hurry to decide Asif's fate

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/p/pcb-logo.jpg' class='caption'> PCB will not take immediate action against Mohammad Asif in the Dubai drug detention case as it has obtained the opinion of World Anti-Doping Agency.

Updated: January 21, 2009 14:44 IST
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Pakistan Cricket Board will not take immediate action against Mohammad Asif in the Dubai drug detention case as it has obtained the opinion of World Anti-Doping Agency which highlighted some new angles.

Saleem Altaf, the Chief Operating Officer of the Board, on Tuesday said WADA had informed the Board that opium was considered a drug as it contained morphine and from that perspective it was a banned substance.

But, he said that WADA also noted that Asif was in possession of the prohibited substance out-of-competition.

"There are several angles to this issue and one has to also look at the perspective if this drug in the possession of an individual and it's out-of-competition and secondly opium is considered a recreational drug in many countries," he said.

"The inquiry committee will look into all possible perspectives of the case," he added.

Asif was in 19-day detention for possession of 0.24 grams of opium while returning from India but deported without facing any criminal charges.

"The committee will begin its hearing as soon as Asif returns from abroad. And we have to wait for the committee's report.

"You cannot hang a man until you give him a fair hearing. And don't forget the Dubai public prosecutor's report states that the quantity of opium Asif had in his possession was negligible that was needed not to be pursued," he said.

Altaf also said since Asif had opium out of competition, he did not think WADA had any jurisdiction over it. He said WADA's new anti-doping rules adopted by the ICC would be applicable from July 1, 2009.

"What they have said is that each individual Board's doping policy should be WADA compliant and that drafts should be available with the ICC by March 2009, and if they are going approve testing out of competition that will be after July 2009," he said.

He said the PCB was now in possession of the Dubai public prosecutor's report on Asif's detention. "We will now also wait for the IPL's inquiry committee's decision."

Asif is also due to appear before the drugs inquiry tribunal of the Indian Premier League on January 24 and 25 in Mumbai at a hearing into his positive dope tests in the league last year.

Asif was released this week by his IPL team, Delhi Daredevils, from his contract because of the two cases he is facing at the moment.

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