Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt has defended his decision to not suspend the three players accused of spot-fixing during the recent tour of England, claiming it would have sent out the wrong message.
Butt insisted the players - skipper Salman Butt and pacemen Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer - had simply been withdrawn, not suspended, from the side due to News of the World allegations of spot-fixing in the fourth npower Test against England.
"We didn't take action against them and let the ICC follow its course of action," Butt told Pakistani newspaper The News.
"We didn't want to send out a message to the world that we believed our players were tainted. The world would have believed that the trio was indeed guilty of spot-fixing."
The ICC responded to claims over the players' alleged links to illegal betting scams by suspending the accused trio pending appeal.
However, Butt - who is reportedly on his way to London to meet with solicitors over the allegations - maintained the ICC action was taken without gathering substantial evidence.
"We have our reservations over the decision to suspend the players without proof," he said.
"But we have co-operated with the ICC anti-corruption and security unit. And as a board we have a responsibility to ensure that no one keeps on making unsubstantiated allegations against our players."