Cricket: Butcher's gesture: Cash for unpaid players

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ROLAND BUTCHER, one of the directors of Cricket Legends, the company behind the collapsed International Sixes tournament at The Oval which left a host of famous players unpaid, yesterday made a personal contribution to those who had taken part and were still in the country.

Many players had already left but Butcher saw the remainder at their hotel in London's West End yesterday morning and handed out pounds 100 to each of them. Many players calculate they are out of pocket to the tune of pounds 450.

'I categorically say now,' Butcher said in a radio interview yesterday, 'that in no way did I attempt to con anyone. If anybody is going to try to say that this was a deliberate thing, I can tell you it wasn't'

It emerged last night that some of the players from Pakistan, India and the West Indies are considering legal action over the affair.

They are owed pounds 1,000 in match fees for the two-day event, and in addition all 58 players had agreed to share the pounds 50,000 prize-money.

The match referee, Geoff Boycott, who was the only person to ensure payment in advance, said last night: 'I expect the Test and County Cricket Board will now bring this up at their next meeting. The cricket was exciting, but the credibility of the organisers is shot through.'