~~Oz govt~~s decision amounts to non-compliance to FTP~~

Published: Sunday, May 13, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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Dubai:The Australia Government's announcement of scrapping the Zimbabwean tour received flak from the International Cricket Council(ICC) with the ICC CEO Malcolm Speed referring to the decision as ''non-compliance'' to the ICC agreement.

''Under the terms of the Future Tours Program Agreement (FTP), if the government of one of the Members refuses to grant a consent, exemption, approval or clearance or imposes any restriction or prohibition on its team to tour another country, these circumstances constitute acceptable non-compliance,'' Speed said, adding ''In this instance it appears the Australian Government has acted in this way.''

Irked at Australia's stand of mixing sports with politics, the ICC CEO said, ''It is not the role of the ICC to make political judgments. That is for politicians; the ICC is a sporting organization and our role is to ensure that the game of cricket is played wherever possible.''

Asked if the match can be played in a neutral venue, Speed said, ''As for whether the matches can take place in a neutral venue, given the choice between that and those matches not taking place at all we would obviously prefer them to be played.''

''That will be for the two Boards to work out but we would encourage them to look at all options.'' Australia might have refused to tour Zimbabwea but this did not dissuade Speed as he assured that ICC will continue encouraging Zimbabwean cricket.

''It is unfortunate for Zimbabwes cricketers and supporters, all of whom need exposure to top-quality cricket in order to develop as players and to encourage future generations to take up the sport."

From an ICC perspective, we will work with Zimbabwe Cricket and our members to try to ensure the game there gets the support it needs in order to continue at this difficult time,'' he added.


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