The ECB has threatened to take legal action against Pakistan board chairman, Ijaz Butt, unless he makes a public apology for alleging that England's players accepted a bribe to lose the third ODI at The Oval.

"We are looking for an apology. If it does not come we'll look at other options," ECB chief executive David Collier told the BBC. "You can't impugn someone's integrity without having proper evidence.

"To date I can say that we have received zero evidence of anything having influenced any England player. Clearly we will seek advice but there are quite strong laws of defamation."

In an extraordinary statement, which he read out to ESPNcricinfo, Butt had said, "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." He had also accused certain "august cricket bodies" of conspiring to defraud Pakistan and Pakistan cricket.

Butt's allegations were of such gravity that the ECB waited almost 24 hours before formulating an official response, and their statement was issued after a meeting between the board and the team. Present at the discussions were Collier, ECB chairman Giles Clarke, the managing director of England Cricket, Hugh Morris, and the England captain and coach, Andrew Strauss and Andrew Flower, who went on to have a subsequent meeting with all of the England team.

The ECB and the team issued a strong statement rejecting Butt's allegations and Collier said that they had decided to proceed playing the final two ODIs "in the best interests of world cricket, England cricket, the ICC and the world game."

Pakistan went on to win the fourth ODI at Lord's and level the series 2-2 ahead of Wednesday's decider at the Rose Bowl.