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LAHORE: Pakistan cricket authorities said on Tuesday they were weighing up legal action against British tabloid The Sun over allegations of spot-fixing after an investigation cleared their players.

The Sun tipped off the International Cricket Council (ICC) that it had evidence that the scoring pattern of Pakistan’s innings in the Oval one-day against England on September 17 was pre-arranged with bookmakers.

The ICC launched an immediate inquiry, but on October 13 cleared the Pakistan team, saying they did not find any corroborative evidence.

“We have been weighing our legal options,” Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) legal adviser Tafazzul Rizvi told AFP. “According to British law there is a period of one year to charge someone with a defamation case.”

Rizvi said there will be no rushed action.

“We think that The Sun has a case to answer but we will not take any hasty decision.”

Furious over the decision to launch the inquiry, PCB chairman Ijaz Butt accused England players of match-fixing, a charge which irked the England and Wales Cricket Board, which demanded an apology and threatened legal action. Butt later withdrew his statement and apologised.

British newspaper the News of the World separately alleged seven Pakistani players were involved in spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test against England in August.

Scotland Yard raided the Pakistan team’s hotel, and questioned Test captain Salman Butt, bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and player Wahab Riaz.

The ICC suspended Salman, Asif and Amir from all international and national cricket. Appeals from Salman and Amir against their suspensions will be heard by an ICC commissioner in Dubai on October 30 and 31.

Asif, who initially decided to challenge the sanction, withdrew his appeal.
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