England Cricket Officials Demand Apology from Pakistan on Match Allegation

English cricket officials wrote to the head of the game in Pakistan threatening legal action unless he issues a “full and unreserved apology” for alleging England players were involved in fixing a match.

Ijaz Butt, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said in a television interview last weekend that “there is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players have taken enormous amounts of money to lose” the third one-day international at the Oval in London on Sept. 17.

“Mr. Butt has been advised that if a satisfactory response is not received, legal proceedings will be commenced against him without further notice,” said a joint statement issued today by the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

Cricket’s governing body has already opened an investigation into scoring patterns in the game, which Pakistan won by 23 runs, after receiving information from the U.K.’s Sun newspaper about the visitors’ batting.

Last month, three members of the Pakistan team were questioned by police and had their mobile phones taken after the News of the World newspaper made allegations of a betting scam during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s in London. A 35-year-old man was also arrested “on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers” and later released.

The three players, captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, were suspended by the International Cricket Council. They maintained their innocence and were sent home from the remainder of the team’s tour of England.

England took the one-day series 3-2 yesterday after winning the last match of the series by 121 runs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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