England players demand apology from Butt

The England team have demanded a "full and unreserved apology" from Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ijaz Butt and threatened legal action after he alleged they were involved in fixing the third one-day international at the Brit Oval.

The controversy arose when Butt said on television in Pakistan: "There is loud and clear talk in bookie circles that some English players have taken enormous amounts of money to lose the match [the third ODI]. No wonder there was such a collapse."

The fourth and fifth matches of the series did go ahead as planned despite talk England would pull out.

But the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) released a statement this morning which read: "The ECB and the PCA today confirmed that a pre-action letter has been sent on behalf of the England cricket team to Ijaz Butt, Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, following his allegations that the England cricket team were involved in fixing the outcome of the third NatWest Series One Day International between England and Pakistan, played at The Brit Insurance Oval on September 17th 2010.

"The letter seeks a full and unreserved apology.

"Mr Butt has been advised that if a satisfactory response is not received, legal proceedings will be commenced against him without further notice."

The accusation has been just one part of a summer of controversy which finally ended yesterday when England wrapped up the NatWest Series with a 121-run win at the Rose Bowl to clinch a 3-2 triumph.

Police investigations are ongoing into allegations Test captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif were part of a 'spot-fixing' scam which involved the pacemen deliberately bowling no-balls during the fourth Test between Pakistan and England last month.

The trio, who maintain their innocence, have been suspended by the International Cricket Council.

A fourth player, Wahab Riaz, was interviewed before being unconditionally released by police.

Riaz was also involved in an altercation with England batsman Jonathan Trott in the Lord's nets before the fourth ODI.