ICC news December 17, 2009

UK environment behind ICC relocation plan - Morgan

Cricinfo staff

ICC president David Morgan has said the organisation's planned move back to London was not because of the economic downturn in Dubai but because of the favourable "work environment" in the UK.

"It has nothing to do with the recession in Dubai," Morgan said on Wednesday while addressing a meeting of the Indian Journalists' Association at The Oval. When asked what triggered plans to relocate, he said: "Attitudes to working in Dubai and the environment in the UK."

The ICC moved from Lord's to Dubai in 2005 after the British government refused to grant exemptions from corporation tax to international sporting bodies.

"The attractions of Lord's are the tradition and London is a great commercial centre," Morgan said. "It was a pleasant surprise when the board asked me to look at it. A number of board members have been talking to me about the attractiveness of coming back to Lord's."

He said there would be more clarity on the issue in February. "The cost implications are being studied. I will give a progress report to the (ICC) board in February and expect to have a firmer decision in June."

On December 6, Morgan had told Cricinfo a specialist team had been put in place to study the feasibility of the move. "I took the initiative by saying that the chief executive and I would carry out a feasibility study. It's all very well to decide it would be nice to move back to Lord's or relocate to place X or Y, but there will be cost implications. What I've done is put together a small, specialist team. We've not yet met, but a great deal of the preparatory work is under way. We'll carry out a feasibility study with the necessary due diligence."

A return to London would, however, be dependent on the ability and willingness of the British government to grant visas to the Zimbabwe delegation, specifically the president of ZC, Peter Chingoka, and the managing director, Ozias Bvute, who are currently on an EU blacklist. "Access to the UK for ICC meetings is something Giles Clarke (the current ECB chairman) and I will be discussing with the UK authorities in the near future," Morgan said.

While speaking of the 2011 World Cup, Morgan said safety and security of players and officials was the foremost concern facing world cricket, especially in the aftermath of the Lahore attacks in March. "The biggest problem is safety and security," he said. "The Lahore attacks changed the landscape.That was a tragic event, so many people had said to me 'never worry about playing Test match cricket in Pakistan, the cricketers won't be targeted. But they were and so were the player control team."

However, steps were being taken by the ICC to ensure improvement in security, and Morgan expressed his satisfaction in the arrangements for the tournament in 2011. "Now we have a security task force in place, chaired by Lord (Paul) Condon (a former commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police) and they will be reporting at our board meeting on February 10 and 11," he said. "We are happy with the 2011 security arrangements.I believe we have very competent people on that group."