Islamabad: In a rare development, the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has banned top players Aamir Atlas, Yasir Butt and Waqar Mehboob for deliberately 'under-performing' at the recent World Men's Team Championship in Germany.

In the championship held last month, the Pakistan team finished 22nd, the worst result in the country's proud squash history, and there were allegations that the players had under-performed deliberately.

A PSF official said that the decision to ban the players was taken after an executive council meeting in which the three players were called to explain their performances.

He said the conclusion drawn by the council was that the players needed to be disciplined for under-performing that had brought a bad name to Pakistan squash.

The former world champions were knocked out in the first round — the worst show by Pakistan in the event's history.

The PSF said that a two-year ban had been imposed on the country's top player, Atlas, a one-year ban on Butt and the third player, Mehboob received a six-month ban, while Nasir Iqbal was cautioned.

However, PSF secretary Irfan Asghar, who accompanied the team as coach and manager, walked away with a warning, drawing strong criticism from the legendary Jahangir Khan who said that players banned for underperforming was never unheard off.

"How can anyone decide if a player has underperformed in squash. The way I see it the officials are just trying to save their seats and made the players the scapegoats which is most unfortunate and the PSF must be held accountable," he said.

Jahangir said the federation should appoint a committee of former players to determine if indeed any player under performed in the world championships.