Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt has withdrawn his allegation of match-fixing against the England team.
Butt claimed he had heard from “bookie’s circles” that England’s players had “accepted enormous amounts of money” to throw the third one-day international with Pakistan at the Oval on September 17.
Pakistan won the match by 23 runs after England were bowled out for 218 in pursuit of a target of 242.
The England players and management strongly refuted the claims and demanded and apology from Butt as they assessed their legal options.
The PCB chairman arrived in London this week to meet English officials and has now released a statement in conjunction with the England and Wales Cricket Board, in which he withdrew his “misunderstood” comments.
“I wish personally and on behalf of the Pakistan Cricket Board to withdraw the comments I made concerning the England and Wales Cricket Board and each of the England players who played in the NatWest one-day international at the Brit Insurance Oval on Friday 17 September,” the statement read.
“It is regrettable that there was a misunderstanding arising from my comments.
“I would like to make it quite clear that in the statements which I made I never intended to question the behaviour and integrity of the England players nor the ECB nor to suggest that any of them were involved in any corrupt practices or in a conspiracy against Pakistan cricket.
“In particular, I wish to make it clear that I have never seen any evidence of any wrongdoing by any England player or the ECB at any time.
“I deeply and sincerely regret that my statements have been interpreted to cast doubt upon the good names of the England players and the ECB and hope that this public withdrawal will draw a line under the matter.
“The ECB and its chairman (Giles Clarke) have been and continue to be a friend of and hugely supportive of Pakistan cricket. I am very grateful for their efforts in that regard and for their hospitality this summer.
“We at the PCB, like all other cricket governing bodies, are committed to a zero tolerance policy to corruption in the game and will continue to work hard with the relevant authorities to eradicate it.”
Butt’s apology was welcomed by the ECB and the England team, who now regard the matter as closed.
Clarke will continue in his role as the International Cricket Council Task Team chairman.
The Task Team is working to help Pakistan play international cricket while its team are forced to play all their matches abroad because of the uncertain security situation at home.
Butt’s climbdown is, however, only likely to bring an end to the possible legal action against him, with the fallout from the spot-fixing saga set to linger on.
Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were provisionally suspended by the ICC after they were implicated in a plan to defraud illegal bookmakers during the fourth Test against England at Lord’s.
The ICC had also announced they were conducting an investigation into “certain scoring patterns” they had been alerted to before the third one-day international at the Oval, prior to Butt’s allegations followed the next day.
That provoked and angry reaction from the England players, who considered refusing to play the final two matches of the series.
The souring of relations between the two teams was then made further evident when England batsman Jonathan Trott and Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz had an altercation in the nets before the fourth one-day international at Lord’s.