ECB demands apology from PCB chief Ijaz Butt

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The ECB has demanded an apology from the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt for accusing the English players of throwing the third one-dayer at the Oval.

Updated: September 21, 2010 12:14 IST
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The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has demanded an apology from the PCB chairman Ijaz Butt for accusing the English players of throwing the third one-dayer at the Oval.

The ECB has also threatened to take legal action against the PCB chief unless he issued an apology for his comments.

"We're looking for an apology. If it doesn't come we'll look at other options," said ECB CEO David Collier.

"Clearly we'll seek advice but there are quite strong laws of defamation. You can't impugn someone's integrity without having proper evidence. To date I can say that we've received zero evidence of anything having influenced any England player," he added.

Butt had told an Indian news channel that he had heard from bookmakers that England players had taken bribes to lose last Friday's Oval ODI.

"There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players were paid enormous amounts of money to lose. No wonder there was total collapse of the English side," Butt had said during an interview to the channel.

The ECB had earlier termed Butt's remarks against the England cricket team as "wholly irresponsible and completely without foundation".

"The team deplores and rejects unreservedly the suggestion that any England cricketers were involved in manipulating the outcome, or any individual element, of the third NatWest Series ODI at the Brit Insurance Oval between England and Pakistan last week," read the statement which was issued on behalf of the England team.

"The players fully understand their responsibilities as representatives of their country, and would not countenance giving less than 100 percent in any match they play," it further added.

The statement was issued after a lengthy meeting between the ECB and the England team.

ECB chairman Giles Clarke, Collier, managing director of England Cricket Hugh Morris, England captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andrew Flower were present during the meeting. A subsequent meeting was then held with the entire England team.

However, the ECB and the England team added that they are committed to continuing with the current NatWest Series against Pakistan.

"It remains in the best interests of world cricket, the players and in particular of cricket supporters that the tour should continue, and it would set a dangerous precedent to call off a tour based on the misguided and inaccurate remarks made by one individual."

The ECB, meanwhile, continued to offer the International Cricket Council (ICC) full support in taking the strongest possible action against all areas of corruption and pledged to offer the ACSU its full support at all times.

Expressing surprise at at Butt's remarks, Strauss said, "We would like to express our surprise, dismay and outrage at the comments made by Mr Butt. We are deeply concerned and disappointed that our integrity as cricketers has been brought into question.

"We refute these allegations completely and will be working closely with the ECB to explore all legal options open to us."

"Under the circumstances, we have strong misgivings about continuing to play the last two games of the current series and urge the Pakistani team and management to distance themselves from Butt's allegations," the England skipper added.

"We do, however, recognise our responsibilities to the game of cricket, and in particular to the cricket-loving public in this country, and will therefore endeavour to fulfill these fixtures to the best of our ability."

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