ICC annual conference July 2, 2011

Government intervention only in security - Lorgat

ESPNcricinfo staff

The ICC will only allow government intervention in cricket in matters related to security, its chief executive Haroon Lorgat has said. In its annual conference in Hong Kong which concluded on June 30, the ICC agreed to an amendment to its constitution that would require all member boards to hold free elections in a bid to democratise the governance of the game and do away with political or government interference. But that did not apply to security matters, Lorgat clarified.

"Only in one case will the ICC allow governments to interfere with the affairs of the member board: when there are security issues involved between the two countries, and if any national squad do not tour any other country on security grounds the ICC will accept government's writ," Lorgat told Dawn. Cricket tours to countries have been called off due to government directives, with Australia not touring Pakistan in the past and England refusing to play in Zimbabwe, most notably in the 2003 World Cup.

The boards most affected by the ICC's decision are the PCB, the Bangladesh Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket, though everyone has until 2013 to comply with the provisions of free elections and no political interference in their respective constitutions. The PCB chairman is appointed by the president of the country; all board presidents in Bangladesh are government-appointed and in Sri Lanka the board answers directly to the sports ministry, which on Friday dissolved SLC's interim committee and appointed a new one.

The PCB had objected to the ICC's proposal in April, sending a legal notice. The board had pointed to the issue of government involvement in security matters as evidence that there may be grey areas as a result of the amendment. But a compromise was worked out in meetings before the annual conference where it was agreed that boards would have till 2013 to comply with the new rules. During this period, the boards can discuss and try to resolve any potential problems of implementing the decision. The support for the amendment, Lorgat said, was unanimous.

"Every member country supported the amendment and it was required to make the member countries have a free election system, to hold a democratic process in the administration, which can strengthen the leadership of the board." When asked if the PCB supported it as well, Lorgat said: "Everyone".

The PCB will be discussing the amendment with the Pakistan government. "How we implement this reform will depend on our talks with the government," its chief operating officer Subhan Ahmed told reporters following his arrival in Pakistan from Hong Kong.

The ICC had appointed a Pakistan Task Force (PTT) with its initial aim being to examine ways to ensure international cricket returned to Pakistan. But the task force's objectives were broadened in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal to also promote an improvement in governance by the PCB. Lorgat said the task force, led by ECB chairman Giles Clarke, had submitted its state of affairs report along with some recommendations, and its role had ended.

"Now it comes to its logical ending and we have provided the full report by the task force to the PCB. The report has many parts; one relates to the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team in Lahore in 2009 while another concerns the spot-fixing issues that surfaced in the Lord's Test [between Pakistan and England] in August 2010."

What if the recommendations suggested a return of international cricket to Pakistan? "Then the ICC will encourage the visiting country to go to Pakistan, but again we will accept government's directives over safety and security issues."

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  • Denham on July 4, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    Who said Sri Lanka is not safe? Sri Lanka was always safe where sports were and are concerned. Even at the height of the civil war, during the 1996 WC, Australia and the West Indies refused to play their matches in Colombo citing security reasons but India and Pakistan sent a combined team to play a friendly match and proved their notions wrong. With the war now only a thing of the past (Peace has dawned in SL), anyone and everyone is more safer than they would ever imagine. I don't know what this fuss Michael Atherton is making about? May be he is concerned that the POMS will be mauled on their tour of Sri Lanka and their dream to become a force to recon with in world cricket will be jeopardized.

  • Sakthi on July 3, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    Nice to See in this FTP that India play Less matches with Srilanka and other minnows.Because they always playing with these countries so many time in last two years. Like to see many matches with Aus, England, South africa.

  • Sarathi on July 2, 2011, 18:44 GMT

    SL is one of the wonderful venue to play cricket.Safe indeed.I have been there during the WC2011 to see Pakistan playing.SL people are so friendly.had a great time there.

  • Selvam on July 2, 2011, 10:31 GMT

    PCB has shot its own leg when they have proposed this amendment. May be PCB was trying to differ the excuses by Indian Cricket Board that government has not approved the tour on security issue. Now the end result is Indian government can still oppose the proposed the FTP tour involving pakistan on the basis of security. And PCB can do nothing about it. Funny part of the whole amendment is PCB now has to be a independent body elected by the associate states and not by government. Lolz.

  • Yaser on July 2, 2011, 10:17 GMT

    Lorgat said: "Everyone" HAHAHA Butt just nailed himself

  • Prashan on July 2, 2011, 9:43 GMT

    So this means England cannot boycott Sri Lanka tour next year at all. Michael Atherton is a bias person believing in anti Sri Lankan propaganda to suggest England will not tour Sri Lanka next year. This is a great decision by the ICC. Never boycott Sri Lanka cricket on bogus allegations of the past. Sri Lanka is a very safe place to play cricket and no excuse to boycott Sri Lanka cricket tours.

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