Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday officially named South Africa as the new hosts of the biennial Champions Trophy this year.
South Africa was recommended last week by cricket's governing body in the wake of incidents in Pakistan which have effectively put hosting cricket matches in that country off the agenda.
The elite eight-nation event was moved out of Pakistan after South Africa refused to tour Pakistan, while Australia, England and New Zealand also voiced concerns over touring the troubled country.
In addition, the March 3 attack in Lahore on the Sri Lankan team bus has further set back any chance of Pakistan hosting an event in the near future.
"With the need to minimise risk and create certainty around the event, the meeting agreed to recommend that CSA (Cricket South Africa) be sought as the alternative host, with Wanderers and Centurion as the venues, provided agreement on the financial arrangements can be reached.", ICC added
"Originally planned for Pakistan, the venue for the event had to be shifted due to security concerns."
"I think the Board has made a sensible decision that will give the event every chance of success. We now have clarity on the subject and we can make firm plans for what is going to be a great spectacle of ODI cricket.", David Morgan said
Also vying for the event had been venues in Australia, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.
Sri Lanka was ruled out as a possible host after concerns were expressed over weather conditions in Colombo during the dates set aside for the tournament.
"This is especially relevant given that the length of this year's ICC Champions Trophy has been reduced to a short, sharp 12 days as on that basis there would be no room for reserve days.", ICC said
"I would like to thank Sri Lanka Cricket for its commitment to offer an alternative to Pakistan. And also, I want to acknowledge its willingness to step aside in this matter. I'd also like to thank CSA for putting its hand up and offering to host this event.", Morgan added
An "impressive" submission from the United Arab Emirates narrowly missed out, according to ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat who said: "Although not successful on this occasion, I have no doubt Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be the scene for top-level international cricket in the future and I certainly would not rule out the possibility of an ICC event being hosted there at some stage."
"With Wanderers and Centurion, Cricket South Africa can provide two world-class venues in what is effectively one location and as we know from the ICC World Twenty20 2007, weather conditions in the area around Johannesburg in September and October are stable and ideal for cricket.", ICC added
Australia will defend the title they won in India in 2006. England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are the other competing teams.
Monday's meeting also unanimously agreed that the dates for next year's ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies would be between 30 April and 16 May.
The tournament will take place in St Lucia, Guyana, Barbados and St Kitts with the latter island staging matches in the women's tournament that will take place at the same time.
thatsCricket (With Inputs From Agencies)