ICC sets deadline for Zimbabwe rebels

Published: Saturday, July 17, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

London:Zimbabwe's rebel cricketers have time till Wednesday to agree to the International Cricket Council's (ICC) plan for arbitration in their dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), Chris Venturas, the players' legal representative said.

Following a meeting in London with ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, Venturas said: "We've been given time till Wednesday 5pm (16.00 GMT) to make a decision about arbitration.

"I'll be recommending we go for it. But I don't know yet what they (the players) are going to say about it."

On Wednesday the ZCU agreed to the ICC's offer to set up a three-man tribunal, sitting in Zimbabwe, in a bid to end the crisis that has plagued Zimbabwe cricket for several months.

One member would be nominated by the ZCU, the other by the players, and the third, the chairman, by these two people.

In April the ZCU sacked then Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak after the fast bowler, now at English County Warwickshire, accused the Union of making some team selections based on race rather than merit.

When his colleague tried but failed to get Streak reinstated they went on strike in protest.

That led the ZCU to sack a total of 15 senior players, all white, a massive loss for a country with an already small pool of cricketers to choose from.

During ICC's executive board meeting, at its Lord's headquarters, on June 30 the governing body told both the ZCU and the players they had 14 days to agree to their three-man arbitration system.

The bulk of the rebels are currently in England for a six-game charity tour designed to raise money for the Zimbabwean Cricketers Fund and the Zimbabwe Pensioners Fund.

Venturas insisted arbitration was what the players had wanted all along. "As I explained to Malcolm (Speed), this is what we had been asking for but we were stonewalled by the ZCU. For arbitration to work it needs the consent of both parties."

And while he remained hopeful the players would agree to the ICC's offer, Venturas added: "A lot of things have happened in the last two months and the players have moved on.

"They need to think about it. I hope they do agree because I think it (arbitration) is in the best interests of Zimbabwe cricket."

Speed, who after the meeting flew with other senior officials to India for a meeting with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the final leg of the ICC's cricket roadshow in New Delhi on Sunday, was unavailable for comment.

But on Wednesday the ICC turned down a request from the players for an extra month in which to make up their minds, instead urging them to "fast-track" their decision.

The ICC, at the same board meeting that devised the tribunal system, suspended Zimbabwe's Tests for the rest of the year following heavy defeats against Sri Lanka.

However their One-day Internationals remained intact and England are due to play five such games in Zimbabwe in November.

Write Comments