WC 2003 - Confusion prevails over England boycott, ICC unclear

Published: Thursday, February 20, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Johannesburg: Confusion surrounded England's intentions on Monday over whether it would boycott its February 13 World Cup opener against Zimbabwe in Harare.Following an earlier statement in which it said England was unable to fulfill the fixture, the International Cricket Council (ICC) issued a second press release, saying it wanted clarification of a letter sent to it on Monday by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)."The ICC remains unclear if the England team will play in Harare on Thursday of this week," the world governing body said."The ECB has requested a meeting with ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, this evening, to discuss the matter further."English cricket chiefs then said they would be holding an 8pm local time (1800GMT) press conference in Cape Town. England has repeatedly cited security fears as a reason for delaying its decision during months of agonising.However, neither the ICC nor the ECB appeared willing to take responsibility for the decision because of the financial penalties that would be triggered in the event that either organisation called the fixture off.However, a clause in the tournament contract says if a team "reasonably believes that the well being of any of its squad would be endangered then it shall not be liable for its inability to perform such obligations under the agreement".Should the ICC call the game off they would be liable for a compensation claim from tournament rights holders, the Global Cricket Corporation (GCC).

Copyright AFP 2001

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