ECB pondering legal action
The ECB board have threatened PCB chairman Ijaz Butt with legal action after he accused England's players of match-fixing.
Last Updated: 20/09/10 7:45pm
The England and Wales Cricket board have threatened Ijaz Butt with legal action after he claimed that English players received "huge amounts of money" to lose the third one-day international against Pakistan.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Butt told Indian broadcaster NDTV that he had heard information from bookmakers that England taken bribes to lose at the Oval last Friday.
The claims brought strong condemnation from England skipper Andrew Strauss, who described his "dismay and outrage" at Butt's comments in a strongly-worded statement issued shortly before the fourth ODI began at Lord's.
ECB chief executive David Collier met with senior figures within the ECB on Sunday night before agreeing the series could continue.
He admitted that the players had endured a "very difficult" 24 hours and conceded that legal action against Butt is an option.
"Clearly we will seek advice on that but there are quite strong laws of defamation," Collier told Test Match Special.
"You have to look at the option. You can't impugn someone's integrity without having proper evidence.
"To date I can say that we have received zero evidence of anything having influenced any England player."
Collier added: "There comes an occasion when we say things that would be better unsaid or gone through right channels.
"We clearly need to make sure players are not defamed in any way shape or form. We do not make comments about any other players or boards."
The episode is the latest story to emanate from a summer of controversy which has seen four players questioned by police over spot-fixing.
Three of them, Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif, have been suspended by the International Cricket Council but deny any wrongdoing.
The fourth, seamer Wahab Riaz, is still available for selection for the NatWest series, which ends at the Rose Bowl on Wednesday.