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April 2, 2001
Terming as discriminatory India's decision to refuse permission to its team to play in Sharjah, CBFS, the organisers there, expressed the hope that the country would reverse its stance in near future.
"Today (Sunday) the CBFS has been informed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India that the government has refused permission to its cricket team to participate in the Triangular series between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka scheduled from April 8 to 20, 2001"
"We regret that the government of India has made this decision. CBFS would like to thank the BCCI for their support and understand their impedient due to this unusual breach of contract forced upon them.
"We are confident that this discriminatory and unwarranted treatment to the Emirates Cricket Board will not be allowed to continue and the Government of India will reverse their decision in the very near future," Cricketers' Benefit Fund Series said in a statement late last night.
However, the statement failed to elaborate on allegations of discrimination. "Regardless, the Coca Cola Cup will be held as per schedule with New Zealand replacing India as the third team and cricket in Sharjah will flourish as usual" it added.
Meanwhile, in a sharp reaction to India's refusal to field its team in the Sharjah Tri-series championship, CBFS' chief co-ordinator Asif Iqbal said if the reason for the pull-out had something to do with the rumours of underworld and match-fixing, then there should not be any cricket in India.
"If the reasons are not given and it has something to do with the rumours of the underworld, then there should not be any cricket in India. Because the allegations regarding matchfixing along with players' suspensions (that of Hansie Cronje or Md Azharuddin) all are linked to Indian bookmakers," Iqbal told The Gulf News on phone from his London residence.
India officially announced yesterday it would not send its team to play at non-regular venues including Sharjah, Toronto and Singapore, for at least three years. Iqbal also disagreed that Sharjah was a non-regular venue. "Sharjah is a different venue from Singapore and Toronto," he said and added that it was established as the regular off-shore centre. "I think now the onus is on the Board of Control for Cricket in India. They should inform the Indian government what the CBFS has done for the cricketers, not only current but also those of the past".
Meanwhile, the Khaleej Times quoted CBFS chief executive Zahid Noorani as saying the organisers would consult lawyers and concerned people to find out what sort of penalties, if any, can be imposed on India for breach of contract. "We will consult our lawyers and concerned people to know how we can proceed after this breach of contract by India" he told the daily. "There will be no great impact on our long term strategy as organisers of international cricket. We will continue to play cricket here in Sharjah with or without India," he said. "Our contracts and international commitments are not affected and we will continue with cricket," he added.
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