Mohammad Asif, middle, is escorted out of the hearing of the ICC's anti-corruption tribunal in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday. ((Manan Vatsyayana/Getty Images))

The verdict on corruption charges against three Pakistan players was deferred until Feb. 5 by the International Cricket Council on Tuesday.

A three-man tribunal leading a hearing since Thursday was expected to make a ruling on Tuesday, but it said it wanted more time to consider the issues in regard to former captain Salman Butt and fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and 18-year-old Mohammad Amir, who face life bans for alleged spot-fixing in one of cricket's worst scandals.

It also announced that it had acquitted Asif and Amir of all charges relating to The Oval test match which took place during the same period and Butt of all but one charge. The charges have until Tuesday never been made public and the tribunal did not say what the trio were accused of doing in that match.

Michael Beloff, chief of the ICC's code of conduct commission and the head of the tribunal, said it was conscious of the importance of the hearing for the players and cricket.

"Representations have been made to reserve any decision on the charges still before it until it has had sufficient time to give the issues most careful consideration and until it is able at the same time as handing down its decision to provide written reasons," he said. "It would not be feasible within the time table agreed for this hearing in Doha."

Beloff added the tribunal would reconvene on Feb. 5 in Doha where "the tribunal has determined to continue its deliberation and will hold a further hearing at which its decisions will be handed down to the parties and any consequential matters dealt with."

The players, he said, remain suspended from international cricket.

The trio was alleged to have accepted payments for bowling no-balls at prearranged times in the test against England at Lord's at the end of August, and within days they were suspended by the ICC and charged with corruption.

Butt, Asif and Amir, who have played 70 tests among them since 2003, have repeatedly claimed their innocence.

They refused to comment as they left the office tower where the hearing was held.

An assistant to Butt's lawyer said, "on behalf of Salman Butt, he would like to thank you all for support, well wishes and assistance that I've received over the last few months and in particular the last few days. At this current moment in time, we are not in a position to answer any questions."

In Pakistan where the hearing has topped the news most of the day, at least one former players was dismayed the trio would have to wait several more weeks to learn their fate.

"It's not fair with the player," former test cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz said. "If the decision had to be deferred then the players should have been allowed to play international cricket.

"At the most, Beloff should have taken a day or two to reach the verdict. One month is too long."