ICC executive meeting January 19, 2009

ICC continues to press Chingoka's claims

Cricinfo staff

Peter Chingoka at the ICC annual meeting in Dubai last July © Getty Images
The fate of the ICC executive meeting scheduled for Perth next week remains in the balance as officials do all they can to persuade the Australian authorities to grant a visa to Peter Chingoka, the Zimbabwe Cricket chairman.

Less than a month ago Chingoka was named by the Australian government on a list of those banned from entering the country because of his links with the Mugabe regime. However, last summer, in the light of Chingoka being made unwelcome by the UK authorities, the ICC executive took a decision that all members should be permitted to attend meetings.

To that end, David Morgan, the ICC president, has been in regular contact with the Australian foreign office to try to persuade them to allow Chingoka into the country, just to attend the get-together. Sharad Pawar, who as well as being the ICC's vice-president is also India's agriculture minister, is also believed to have been leaning on the Australian authorities.

Chingoka, who is the longest-standing member of the executive by more than a decade, could offer to stay at home, freeing the way for the meeting to go ahead without him, but it is reported he is reluctant to do this. He already agreed not to attend next summer's annual meeting at Lord's to allow that to go ahead, but is said to be insistent that the issue of where he can and cannot go be resolved.

If attempts to allow Chingoka into Australia fail then it is expected that the meeting will be cancelled rather than held at an alternative venue. It will also mean that the ICC executive cannot meet in Australia or England while he remains Zimbabwe's representative. The same applies to the ICC chief executives' committee while Ozias Bvute, ZC's managing director, is in office.

Sources in Australia maintain that the Australian government would be left acutely embarrassed were they to back down so soon after declaring Chingoka, as well Bvute, persona non grata.

Among other agenda items, the meeting is due to hear the results of the fact-finding trip to Zimbabwe headed by West Indies board chairman Julian Hunte in November.