The ICC executive board, which met over the last two days in Auckland, New Zealand approved the Future Tours Programme Agreement under which the teams refusing to tour would face a minimum of USD 2 million and a possible suspension from international cricket.
But, significantly, the Agreement also provides specific conditions under which a country could withdraw from a tour without punishment including safety and security concerns or where a country's Government provided clear direction not to tour.
The board also reaffirmed its policy that countries should not be drawn into making political decisions when assessing their future tour commitments.
The outcome of the two-day meeting puts the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)under pressure with regard to a decision on its scheduled tour of Zimbabwe while endorsing India's inability to honour its commitment to Pakistan due to a Government policy in the past.
"The ICC recognises that in certain circumstances, politicians may exercise their right to use sporting sanctions as a foreign policy tool," ICC president Ehsan Mani said.
"It is not something that is particularly welcome but the reality is that from time to time it does happen. We have seen this occur recently with India and Pakistan," Mani said.
"If Governments take (such an) action, their decisions will be accepted by the ICC and there would be no impact on an individual Board," Mani said.
"However, where there is no political will to act, the ICC believes that cricket should be able to play the positive and powerful role that international sport is capable of by allowing people from different countries and cultures to meet together on the sporting field". Mani said that while the ICC recognised the right of Governments to use sport as part of its foreign policy, the decisions of politicians would not drive ICC policy.
"The actions or inactions of politicians do not drive the policy of the ICC.
"The adoption of these new powers by the executive board reflects its commitment to protecting the future tours program which is the lifeblood of international and domestic cricket around the world." Mani said that the board meeting had the opportunity to discuss this agreement as well as providing the opportunity for the ECB to detail its position in relation to its tour of Zimbabwe which has been the subject of much speculation.
"The chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, David Morgan, took the opportunity to address the meeting and confirmed his Board's support for the existing policy and advised that the ECB had no security concerns over Zimbabwe at this time," said Mani.