Ex-Sussex bowler Arif banned for life over fixing

London (AFP) - Former Sussex bowler Naveed Arif has been banned for life from cricket after pleading guilty to six corruption offences, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Wednesday.

Arif, a Pakistani, had previously been charged with the offences, all relating to accusations of spot-fixing in a 40-over game between Sussex and Kent in August 2011.

Left-arm seamer Arif, a former Pakistan A player, is now banned from taking part in any form of cricket sanctioned by the International Cricket Council, ECB or any other national cricket federation.

The ECB said the 32-year-old had admitted his guilt in tape-recorded interviews with their anti-corruption unit and via signed statements.

"Today's announcement sends out a very clear message that the ECB has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption in cricket and that it will root out and punish those who pose a threat to the game's integrity," said ECB chief executive David Collier.

Arif joined Sussex in 2011 and spent two seasons with the south coast county.

He made 11 appearances for Sussex in the County Championship, 13 in the 40-over competition and six in the Twenty20 before he was released in 2012 after falling out of contention for a first-team place.

Afrif had been playing for Little Stoke in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League in north-west England prior to a temporary suspension from the sport which was imposed in April 2014.

His lawyers apologised for their client's involvement in cricket corruption by saying in a statement: "Mr Arif regrets his conduct which has let himself, his team-mates, Sussex County Cricket Club and the cricket fraternity down.

"He is deeply ashamed of his actions and, consequently, bringing the game of cricket into disrepute. These actions were unacceptable and Mr Arif has no excuses.

"Being banned from cricket, the game he loves, is the most severe punishment he could receive.

"Mr Arif is currently considering his future, having learnt some painful lessons from his past."

In May, as well as a charging Arif, the ECB also charged his former Sussex team-mate Lou Vincent with offences relating both to the Sussex-Kent match and a separate Twenty20 match between Sussex and Lancashire.

Former New Zealand batsman Vincent has already confessed to fixing in several countries.