Zim crisis may affect World Cup games

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2001, 18:41 [IST]
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Johannesburg: The current political crisis in Zimbabwe could affect decisions to host some of the 2003 Cricket World Cup games there. The executive director of the 2003 World Cup Committee in South Africa, Dr Ali Bacher, said that although "contingency plans" were being drawn up which took into account the developments in the country's immediate neighbour to the north, he was confident that there would be stability (in Zimbabwe) by the time of the World Cup. Zimbabwe has been in the headlines because of an insistence by the country's President Robert Mugabe to run for another term of office, and widespread attacks on white farmers whose land is being claimed by veterans of the war, against white minority rule in that country. There has also been concern about the stifling of opposition to Mugabe's ruling party. Bacher said the contingency plans would be developed after he and his World Cup team had visited Zimbabwe at the end of next month when the West Indies, India and Zimbabwe would feature in a One-day triangular series. He said he would assess the mood in the country, especially in the cities of Harare and Bulawayo, where the Committee intended to host several World Cup games. Bacher said that while nobody could predict what would happen in Zimbabwe after the Presidential elections scheduled for next year, the intentions of the World Cup Committee to host games there were still very much on track. The issue of another African country, Kenya, hosting a World Cup game would be decided after he addresses the International Cricket Council (ICC) executive committee about the matter in June, Bacher said. He said there was still concern about the huge cost of arranging media facilities, especially for television, in Kenya. Bacher announced that Rodney Hartman, currently Sports Editor at the national weekly 'Sunday Times', has been appointed Communications Manager for the 2003 Cricket World Cup. "Hartman was selected from among 106 applicants for the position for his excellent knowledge of the game of cricket, his considerable experience in the media world over many decades. Also the respect he enjoys among his colleagues, his clear understanding and vision for an event that goes far beyond mere bat and ball and will set out to embrace all the different communities of South Africa," Bacher said.

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