Bacher mum on Eng shift request, certain about security

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Cricket World Cup organiser Ali Bacher is confident the tournament will be a 'great security success', but declined on Wednesday to comment on a request by England to have its Zimbabwe match moved for safety reasons.

Bacher said the appeal would be discussed by the World Cup Technical Committee on Thursday. "It would be wrong of me to even comment at this point in time until after that meeting has been concluded," the World Cup's executive director told SABC radio news. English cricket chiefs this week submitted a formal request to the International Cricket Council for their February 13 World Cup match in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare to be switched to South Africa, citing security reasons.

Bacher said the South African government had made "extraordinary resources" available to ensure the World Cup proceeded as smoothly as the World Summit on Sustainable Development hosted by South Africa last year. "In today's times, following September 11, 2001, it's a changed world and nobody can guarantee anything. All I could say is that our South African government are putting together behind this event extraordinary resources.

"The people who ensured that the Earth Summit (in September 2002) was a great security success story, those very same people are saying to us that they'll give the same support and that are as confident as they can be," he said. Bacher said he hoped Saturday's opening ceremony and the first match between South Africa and the West Indies on Sunday would set the tone for a "wonderful" World Cup. "I am confident from next week on cricket will dominate the world. We want the cricketers to be on the centre stage of the world and the administrators and politicians, including myself, must withdraw and the game of cricket must take over."

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