Beijing: World cricket's leading administrator has said the "perilously close" start of next month's Champions Trophy in Pakistan made the ongoing uncertainty over the tournament a "concern".
David Morgan, the president of the International Cricket Council (ICC), was speaking just hours before Haroon Lorgat, the governing body's chief executive, was due to hold a news conference in London on Tuesday following his talks with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
Lorgat, who has already met with the England players and management, is due to hold similar discussions in his native South Africa later this week.
Players and officials from England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, are known to have severe doubts about competing in the September 12-28 one-day tournament because of a wave of Islamist militant violence in Pakistan.
"It's a concern that we haven't yet had confirmation from all eight countries that they are prepared to go to Pakistan," Morgan, in Beijing to attend the Olympic Games, told AFP here Tuesday.
"Haroon Lorgat is in the UK currently, meeting the board of ECB today (Tuesday) he is due in South Africa at the end of the week."
Morgan, himself a former ECB chairman, added: "The scheduled start time for the tournament is perilously close so, of course, I am concerned."
England captain Kevin Pietersen, after meeting with Lorgat, said: "It's a big decision for the board to make and the players have said whatever they needed to say."
In July, the ICC - where some insiders have long feared a split between the powerful Asian bloc led by India, cricket's commercial powerhouse - and the rest of the world's leading teams - set up a special security taskforce.
And last week the garrison city of Rawalpindi was dropped as a Trophy venue.
But this does not appear to have allayed fears in several countries.
Both Sri Lanka, where fighting between the government and the separatist Tamil Tiger movement has been in progress for over 30 years and England, often cited a target for terror attacks because of Britain's involement in US-led military operations in Iraq, have been suggested as alternative venues.
Last week ICC general manager David Richardson, the former South Africa wicket-keeper, said a decision over relocation needed to be made "in the next few days," if that was what the cricket world wanted.
But with the start of the tournament raidly approaching, logistical issues mean there may well soon come a time beyond which moving the tournament from Pakistan is no longer an option.
Asked when the cut-off date for moving the tournament was, Morgan replied: "I don't know the answer but I am sure it is capable of being played in another country should that be necessary.
"Sri Lanka is an option there are other options too but I wouldn't wish to to go into that detail at the present time.
Former Australia fast bowler Geoff Lawson, now the coach of Pakistan, has urged his compatriots to take part after they postponed a full tour of Pakistan because of safety concerns.
Fresh security fears were raised last week when a roadside bomb blew up a Pakistan Air Force vehicle in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing 13 people, while fighting was also underway with militants on the Afghan border.
In a bid to ease concerns, the ICC have announced the 50 overs per side event will start on September 12, a day later than planned, to avoid the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
Monday saw Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf announce his intention to resign just hours after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf quit.
"I will continue to work until a new chairman is appointed and I don't see my leaving affecting the Champions Trophy because the PCB is an institution and institutions are not run by (one or two) individuals," Ashraf said.