Australia explores possibility of collective ban

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2002, 17:38 [IST]
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Sydney: Australia has approached the governments of other cricketing nations to discuss a collective ban on World Cup cricket matches in Zimbabwe, Prime Minister John Howard said on Tuesday. Howard reiterated that his government would not stop the Australian cricket team from playing in Zimbabwe next February, saying that would be unfair to the players and fans.

But he said the International Cricket Council (ICC) should reverse its decision to permit six World Cup matches to be played in the strife-torn country. "We would like to see the ICC collectively change its view, that will only happen if there is a collective view expressed to that council by a number of governments," Howard told reporters.

"I've spoken to the Foreign Minister (Alexander Downer) this morning about the matter, he's already been in touch with the foreign ministers of some other countries and that process will go on. "This is a difficult issue and the way in which it can be satisfactorily resolved is on an all-in, all-out basis, not by unilateral action."

The ICC sent a security and safety delegation to Zimbabwe last month and that group recommended the six scheduled Cup games could proceed. Downer said he did not know how successful his campaign would be, but that he was confident of support from Britain and New Zealand. "But we should make an effort to encourage as many countries as possible to lobby the International Cricket Council, suggest to the International Cricket Council that the games be moved to another African country," Downer said.

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