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April 17, 2009
Pakistan has been stripped of hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup because of the "uncertain security situation" in the country, the ICC said.
"It is a regrettable decision (but) our number one priority is to create certainty and...deliver a safe, secure and successful event," ICC president David Morgan said in a statement.
"However, our number one priority was and is to deliver a safe, secure and successful event and the uncertainty created by events within Pakistan created a huge question mark over our ability to do just that."
The ICC added that Pakistan was unlikely to resume hosting any cricket at all until 2011. It also said the World Cup secretariat would be moved out of Pakistan to a location to be decided by the organising committee. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the other co-hosts, will now share the 16 matches that were to be held in Pakistan.
Ijaz Butt, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, expressed regret. "It's a disappointing decision but it can't be helped. Nobody wants to play in Pakistan following the attacks in Lahore," Butt said. He was referring to the attack on Sri Lanka's touring cricketers in Lahore on March 3, in which eight Pakistanis were killed and seven Sri Lankan players injured.
Pakistan were due to co-host the event with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but the deteriorating security situation has posed a serious problem for the PCB. The news came during the first day of the ICC board meeting in Dubai.
Pakistan's status as a host of international matches has been uncertain for some time - the Champions Trophy was shifted out last year and, in January, India became the latest country to cancel a tour when they pulled out of a bilateral series. However, the Lahore attack seemed to have sealed their fate on hosting the World Cup.
The attack itself also came up for discussion at the meeting, with match referee Chris Broad, who was on duty for the Test, and Sri Lanka's Mahela Jaywardane (via telephone) giving their version of what happened.
It was decided that Lord Condon, chairman of the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, would lead a task team - including ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat and directors Jack Clarke and Shashank Manohar - would conduct a review of security arrangements for all international cricket.
The review, Lorgat said, would include an assessment of whether current security protocols employed by ICC Members were adequate and, if not, how they could be improved. It would also, if necessary, approach other sports to see if there was scope for information-sharing in the way security is conducted across major events around the world.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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