WC 2003 - Bacher calls for expanding next World Cup in Windies

Published: Monday, February 17, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: World Cup executive director Ali Bacher called on Wednesday for even more teams to take part in the next edition of the tournament in the West Indies in four years' time.This year's World Cup has been the biggest ever with 14 nations taking part including Canada, Namibia and the Netherlands who are all associate members of the International Cricket Council (ICC)."My personal viewpoint is that their participation did not devalue the integrity of this event," Bacher told a press conference. "In fact they brought a freshness to this World Cup and I just hope that the ICC proceed further with the enlargement of the number of teams that participate in the World Cup."Canada caused one of the tournament's biggest upsets by beating Bangladesh, the weakest of the 10 Test nations but otherwise the three minnows was involved in some fairly one-sided encounters, the Dutch's lone victory coming against the Namibians and the Africans not winning at all.But Bacher said having more teams at the tournament, which at six weeks long is three times the length of an Olympic Games, could actually shorten the event. "If you had 16 teams, that would be four pools of four which would mean fewer matches." South Africa's first-round exit has prompted fears that the patriotic fervour which has engulfed the World Cup will evaporate and public support decline.But Bacher said, "With regard to the exit of South Africa from the World Cup, I believe that we have demonstrated that this country has the resources, the capacity and the infrastructure to successfully manage a global sporting event."It is now time for this country to demonstrate that it has the willingness to support such an event. The World Cup does not stop because the host country is out."Bacher also said stadiums had been filled to 76 percent of their overall capacity for the group matches and that Rand 80 million ($ 10 million) had been generated in ticket sales.South Africa exited after only managing a tie in its final group game against Sri Lanka under the Duckworth/Lewis (D/L) method used to decide the outcome of rain-affected matches.However, while the teams receive charts telling them of the D/L situation at various stages of the game no such information has been displayed to crowds even though all the grounds are equipped with modern electronic scoreboards."Certainly with the scoreboards we have now in South Africa, there's no reason why we can't display it," ICC general manager David Richardson said."Obviously, we've got to make sure there's no possibility of human error creeping in," he added. "But I'm sure we'll work to make sure the information displayed is correct, obviously you can imagine what disasters we will have."Copyright AFP 2001

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