Zimbabwe, Kenya World Cup ties: Crucial talks begin

Published: Friday, January 31, 2003, 0:02 [IST]
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London: World cricket's governing body on Thursday began crucial talks on whether World Cup matches in Zimbabwe and Kenya should go ahead. England's players have called for their match in Harare to be switched to South Africa because of security concerns but the proposed move faces opposition from India and Pakistan, who have said they are happy to play their matches in Zimbabwe, as have Namibia and the Netherlands. Australia, the other team scheduled to play in Zimbabwe, share England's reservations while New Zealand has said it does not want to play in Kenya because of the danger of further terrorist attacks. The International Cricket Council (ICC)'s executive board was to discuss the issues involved in a telephone conference on the basis of a report on the situation in the two countries by American security consultants Kroll. Opponents of switching matches to South Africa, where most of the February 8-March 23 tournament is due to take place, argue that the security concerns are not justified. Australia and England have come under pressure from their governments not to play in Zimbabwe as a protest at the policies of President Robert Mugabe. But a boycott on political or moral grounds is opposed by most Test-playing countries. The ICC has, until now, maintained there is no security case for moving games out of Kenya and Zimbabwe and insisted that teams scheduled to play in the two countries must honour their contractual commitments. The executive board meeting began at 1000 GMT and the results were expected to be announced at a London press conference later on the day.

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