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World Cup 2011

Pakistan stays away as ICC seals WC venues

Cricinfo staff

July 14, 2009

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A worker cleans the stands a day before the Australia against Pakistan ODI at the new Sport City, Dubai, April 21, 2009
The organising committee's latest decision effectively puts the lid on Pakistan's hopes of staging at least some of the 14 matches initially allotted to it in a neutral venue © Associated Press

The Pakistan Cricket Board stayed away from a meeting of the 2011 World Cup organising committee that ruled out the possibility of holding Pakistan's matches at a neutral venue and reconfirmed an earlier decision to redistribute those 14 games among India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the other co-hosts.

The decisions were taken at a meeting of the ICC event's Central Organising Committee (COC) in Mumbai on Tuesday, to which the PCB had been invited as the fourth co-host. Although the PCB chose to skip the meeting, it deputed Zakir Khan, its director (cricket operations), to attend the event's logo launch ceremony that was held later in the evening.

The ICC said a match schedule would be announced in due course and recommendations of Tuesday's communicated to the ICC board. The ICC board had last month asked the organising committee to recommend afresh alternative venues for Pakistan's matches after the PCB challenged the committee's earlier decision to redistribute its matches among the other co-hosts.

The organising committee also reconfirmed all the decisions taken at the previous meeting in April, including shifting the event secretariat from Lahore to Mumbai, holding the final in India, the semi-finals in India and Sri Lanka, and distributing the quarter-finals among the three co-hosts with two of those matches going to Bangladesh.

"Scheduling for the quarter and semi-finals will attempt to ensure that the host country will play at home should it qualify," the ICC said. "All venues for matches will be confirmed and announced in due course."

The organising committee's latest decision effectively puts the lid on Pakistan's hopes of staging at least some of the 14 matches initially allotted to it in a neutral venue, possibly in the Middle East. However, it also paves the way for the PCB to press ahead with its legal challenge against the ICC's decision in April not to hold any World Cup matches in Pakistan due to the prevailing security situation in the country.

The ICC, meanwhile, said that it will ask the PCB to nominate three representatives to join the event's organising committee, which is headed by Sharad Pawar, the ICC vice-president. Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, and senior officials from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka attended Tuesday's meeting, which was described as having been "good, productive" by Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI official who was reconfirmed as tournament director.

"There was a recognition that there is much hard work to be done but we are confident we are now well on the way, with operational plans in place to become effective from the start of August," Prof. Shetty said. "Moving forward, the COC will meet on a regular basis with everyone committed to a successful event, something we are confident we can achieve."

The organisers unveiled the event's logo at a function that was attended by player representatives, including Clive Lloyd, Dilip Vengsarkar, Aravinda de Silva and Michael Bevan, from all the World Cup-winning countries, except Pakistan.


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