Bidding battles April 29, 2006

ICC set to end suspense over 2011 World Cup

Cricinfo staff

Malcolm Speed: 'We have two strong options and there will doubtless be extensive discussion as to which submission will be successful' © Getty Images

The suspense over who will host the World Cup in 2011 is set to be resolved during the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai on April 30. The ICC will weigh up the merits of two bids - a joint Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka proposal against one from Australia and New Zealand.

Malcolm Speed, ICC's chief executive, said that it would be a difficult decision. "We put in place some very strict compliance guidelines so a lot of work has gone into both of these submissions," he was quoted as saying by AFP. "Both have government support and have indicated their ability to comply with strict ICC criteria regarding the number of venues, the quality of facilities and the exemption from tax."

Top notch facilities and experience at hosting big events would count in Australia and New Zealand's favour. Australia and New Zealand jointly organised the World Cup in 1992 and feel they have the right by rotation to host the tournament in 2011. James Sutherland, chief executive of Cricket Australia, spoke of the factors that could help them clinch it. "In very recent history Australia has hosted the Olympics, hosted the Rugby World Cup and with the Commonwealth Games there's a proven track record of performance that stands us in good stead," he said. "The facilities, the track record of putting on these large sporting events, and also the resources that we have, the human resources we have in our country and New Zealand, are really strong factors in our favour."

However, they will receive some stiff competition from the South Asian countries, with the claim that they deserve to host every third edition of the World Cup. "Our claim is a rightful one," said Sharad Pawar, the chief of the Indian board. "The South Asian region has four of the 10 Test-playing nations and a large part of the money earned from cricket comes from here, so there is good reason that every third World Cup be held here. Our proposal is not about India alone. To see matches being held in more countries would mean more crowd participation."

Speed added that there was a chance of the deadlock continuing, considering that a decision of the ICC requires the support of the majority of Full and Associate Member representatives including at least seven of the 10 Full Members. "It may be that neither submission has sufficient support at the end of the meeting in which case the board will have to reconvene at a later date," he warned. "This has happened in the past, most notably during discussions regarding the hosting of the 1996 World Cup, and is something we will deal with if required."

Whoever loses has the consolation of knowing that they will almost certainly hold the event in 2015. England, which had initially bid for the 2015 event, is expected to withdraw its offer and be awarded the right to host the 2019 tournament at the ICC's conference in July.