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2011 World Cup

Pakistan rules out neutral venue option

Cricinfo staff

July 30, 2009

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Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, fields a press conference in Karachi, November 28, 2008
Ijaz Butt: "There's no such clause in the agreement among the four co-hosts, so it's not possible." © AFP
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Pakistan has ruled out holding its share of 2011 World Cup matches at a neutral venue. "There's no such clause in the agreement among the four co-hosts, so it's not possible," PCB chairman Ijaz Butt said.

Butt also briefed lawmakers on the ongoing legal dispute over the ICC's decision to strip Pakistan of co-hosting rights on security grounds, at a meeting of the parliamentary sports committee. "We are looking for an out-of-court settlement with the ICC and I am hopeful that we will settle the issue some time next month," Butt said.

The ICC has promised to give the PCB $10.5 million as a co-host, despite distributing Pakistan's share of 14 World Cup matches among the other hosts: India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. "Four of our demands have been met while the dispute is over the other two," Butt said without elaborating on the details.

Pakistan was stripped of its rights as co-host in the aftermath of the attacks on the touring Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore in March. Following the decision, the World Cup secretariat was moved from Lahore to Mumbai.

The PCB could not convince the other co-hosts that Pakistan could organise its share of matches at a neutral venue, most likely the United Arab Emirates, where Pakistan played five ODIs and a Twenty20 against Australia in April-May this year.

The cricket board initiated legal action against the ICC before the game's governing body guaranteed the $10.5 million payment. Butt met ICC chairman David Morgan on Tuesday. They said no final agreement was made to defuse the legal threat but also stated that there would be further talks. During the interim period, the legal action is on hold.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

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