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Zimbabwe tour still on, says NZC

Published: Sunday, July 6, 2008, 5:07 [IST]
 
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Wellington: The New Zealand cricket team will tour Zimbabwe next year unless ordered not to by the government, NZ Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan was reported as saying Sunday.

Prime Minister Helen Clark has made it clear she is opposed to the tour but has so far refused to stop the New Zealand team travelling to Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe was controversially re-elected last month.

All national teams are bound by the International Cricket Council's future-tours programme, and face severe financial penalties starting at two million US dollars for refusing to tour.

No national cricket team has rejected a foreign tour without political intervention, and New Zealand was not going to be the first, Vaughan said.

"It's a political question and requires a political solution; it's not a decision NZC should have to make," he told New Zealand's Sunday Star-Times newspaper.

"We are a group of cricket administrators. We might have strong feelings about the situation in Zimbabwe but judging international politics is not what we're about.

"There are other, far more qualified people to do that job -- politicians for example."

Vaughan said the tour was still a year away and the situation could change before then. The International Cricket Council (ICC) declined to suspend Zimbabwe at its meeting this week in Dubai.

"There'll be another ICC conference before then; undoubtedly, a lot will change in Zimbabwe in the next year, and by that time the ICC sub-committee appointed to investigate Zimbabwe Cricket will have reported back, and we'll have a clearer idea of the situation," he said.

"You never know, we might not have to make a decision. Time is on our side at the moment."

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