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PCB chief off to London to mend relations

Ijaz Butt TafazzulLAHORE: Pakistan’s cricket chief on Tuesday left for England, where he is expected to meet lawyers in a bid to clear his players of allegations of spot-fixing and fend off demands for an apology.

“I am leaving for London on an official trip,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt told AFP, without giving any details.

Reports said Butt and legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi will meet Elizabeth Robertson, the British lawyer representing Pakistani players and the PCB over the spot-fixing allegations.

Butt is also expected to meet Scotland Yard officials in a bid to expedite the case that saw Test captain Salman Butt and bowlers Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz interrogated.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has provisionally suspended Salman, Amir and Asif, and have asked them to reply to the suspension notices.

Pakistan’s recent tour of England, where they also played Australia in a neutral venue series, was marred by the spot-fixing allegations.

The tour ended in acrimony when Butt alleged England players were paid “enormous amounts of money” to lose the third one-day international at The Oval, sparking a furious row between the two country’s cricket boards.

England players and the England and Wales Cricket Board have demanded an unreserved apology from Butt, who has refused, saying he was quoting bookie circles and will reply to the England players through his lawyer.

The ICC has launched a separate inquiry into the September 17 one-day between Pakistan and England after British tabloid The Sun said the scoring pattern of Pakistan’s innings in the match was pre-arranged with bookmakers.

Butt also met ICC officials last week in an unsuccessful attempt to get the provisional suspension on the three players lifted. —AFP

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