Israel February 19, 2009

Israeli tennis issue serves as warning to ICC

At the moment the row is limited to tennis, but Dubai's refusal to allow Israeli player Shahar Peer a visa to play in the Dubai WTA event should serve as a warning to the ICC, who moved its headquarters to the UAE in 2005

At the moment the row is limited to tennis, but Dubai's refusal to allow Israeli player Shahar Peer a visa to play in the Dubai WTA event should serve as a warning to the ICC, who moved its headquarters to the UAE in 2005. The UAE refuses to recognise Israel and blocks entry to any passport holders from that country.

While Israel are not a major force in the cricket world, they are Associate members. What's more, the ICC and the local authorities have invested huge sums in building state-of-the-art cricket grounds at the Dubai Sports City, and these are due to come into use later this year. The venue will also host the global cricket academy.

It seems likely that the ICC will look to play its more high-profile events at its base, and these would probably include the important Associate events. That would mean that it may face having to relocate tournaments if Israel qualified for them, leading to some serious logistical headaches.

The WTA, which governs women's tennis, are likely to cancel the Dubai event, and the state's aggressive bid to attract major sporting events could stall unless there is some change of policy.

There is a loophole. Israelis with a second passport can enter the country , and for several years Stanley Perlman, Israel's representative to the ICC and a member of its executive board, was able to attend meetings by virtue of his possessing a South African passport as well.

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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