Pakistan Super League 2017 January 9, 2017

Safety for PSL final 'cannot be guaranteed' - FICA report

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Overseas players may reconsider their plans to participate in the 2017 PSL Final after FICA issued a note of caution to for foreign players regarding safety and security © Chris Whiteoak

The Federation of International Cricketers' Associations has issued a report which strongly suggests that overseas players decline to participate in the 2017 Pakistan Super League Final due to concerns over player safety.

In the report, FICA has warned that the risk level in Pakistan remains "at an extremely elevated state" and that "an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed."

Organisers have already announced that the final will be played in Lahore on March 7, as planned, whether overseas players take part or not. If they decline to travel, they will be replaced by players from Pakistan. All earlier games in the tournament will be played in the UAE.

But the FICA report would appear to reduce the chances of overseas players participating. While FICA does not have the power to prevent players travelling, its report, circulated to players, their agents and player associations around the world, might influence some national boards and domestic teams to decline to issue No Objection Certificates to their players. FICA has also warned players to "check their insurance coverage" with the suggestion being that it could be invalidated by travelling to Pakistan.

The report, which FICA says is based on "updated security advice we have received" from its "expert security consultants" states that: "Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist attacks across the country and Westerners have in the past been directly targeted and killed in Pakistan. Indiscriminate and targeted attacks are likely to continue, and expert advice is consistent with all Government Agencies and Diplomatic Missions, who generally advise to reconsider the need to travel."

It goes on to state: "There have been attacks at sporting events, which have had significant security overlay in the past, and terrorist groups in Pakistan have demonstrated the intent and capability to launch attacks anywhere in the country. Locations including luxury hotels are also at high risk of being targeted by militant groups.

"The historic use of suicide bombers, the willingness of terrorist groups to attack armed police and police protected sporting events, the capability of such groups and the intent, suggests that the risk associated with the running of an international sporting event are problematic at present.

"Whilst the opportunity for attack on international sporting events and competitors in Pakistan can be mitigated to a certain extent by the implementation of an extremely robust security plan, the current advice is that external security environmental factors keep the risk level in Pakistan at an extremely elevated state, where an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed, even with an extremely robust security plan." The report concludes: "Players participating in this event do so as individuals and at their own risk."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • venbas on January 13, 2017, 16:07 GMT

    For all PAK fans who are arguing for cricket, IF in 2008 the SL team would have been wiped out but for the presence of mind of their Driver who broke through the terrorist barriers inspite of bullet wound...And in 2015 the ZIM team who were the ONLY others to visit escaped a suicide attack thanks to some brave policemen who sacrificed their lives just outside the venue...So unless PAK gets its act together forget 2050 even after the turn of millennium it will only have low profile visitors

  • Vehari-Express on January 12, 2017, 7:58 GMT

    It seems FICA statement is politically affected and not based on true research work

  • cass.smith on January 12, 2017, 4:20 GMT

    Unless the Pakistani govt takes measure and tighten things up, nothing is going to happen in the near future for Pakistan in the form of Cricketing visits from other nations. Why would they? When their safety can't be guaranteed. People claiming that foreigners visit Pakistan all the time.. it's not the same thing. The security of a whole bunch of high profile players from different parts of the world needs to be guaranteed. Why would someone risk their life to entertain Pakistani crowd when their own govt has no interest in cleaning up with place.

    Stop blaming the ICC for things that has nothing to do with them. Your countries improvement is your govts responsibility not ICCs.

  • cric_fan_sg on January 11, 2017, 1:04 GMT

    For those claiming that no sporting events attacked after srilankan incidents need to realize that not many event were organized in pak after that. Also those claiming that the blast during zim series was an accident then they need to brush up their memory. http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan-zimbabwe-2015/content/story/882329.html Don't get overzealous about cricket. There is much more beyond it. Pak needs to fix the situation and they are themselves to be blamed for it.

  • Artem on January 10, 2017, 19:08 GMT

    Don't expect any big name to travel to pakistan. Anyway PSL is a grand economic failure so will wrap up in a couple of years.

  • waseemsarwar on January 10, 2017, 14:45 GMT

    I hope PCB stick to their guns and play final in Pakistan anyway. I am sure a lot of players, not the top stars, will travel to Pakistan and play in final but I wouldn't mind a final with 2,3 foreign players per side too. There way FICA are treating Pakistan, I think they will advise players against travelling to Pakistan in 2050 by using the Sri Lankan attack of 2008. PCB can't force other boards to send their teams but they can use PSL to host individual players.

  • cricfan00739297 on January 10, 2017, 14:26 GMT

    Why not FICA is declaring the brazil and france and some states of india and bangladesh and belgium where even the airport can be attacked as we last seen in belgium... the whole world is facing terorism and so as pakistan... so every team should come pakistan .... its safe here...

  • cricfan00739297 on January 10, 2017, 14:21 GMT

    Pakistan is absolutely save to play cricket... zimbabwe series is an evidence of that... also players like cameron delport from south africa had already visited to lahore... zarb- e- azab operation against terarist is just about on its end stage... there are still some places about which you can have a doubt in your mind.. but lahore is perfectly save and secure just like any other city in the world....

  • wpbus13 on January 10, 2017, 14:16 GMT

    As much as we all want to see international cricket return to Pakistan, overseas players will be wise to pay attention to this report, but ultimately the decision is theirs to make. Pakistan is still unstable from a security standpoint and anyone suggesting otherwise is not being totally honest. At the same time, this being a one off game makes it easier to pull off.

  • Vicky_Maly on January 10, 2017, 11:13 GMT

    I am surprised by some of the readers who portray the security issue as the media perception. Come on guys, the gory details and statistics of human tragedy are on every channel. Just go back and calculate the number of lives lost to terror over the past 12 months. Give it a few more years and lets see if the Govt is able to develop the resources and mindset to arrange safe international events.

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