Pakistan cricket May 9, 2009

PCB issues legal notice to ICC for World Cup exclusion


In the first official response to the ICC's decision to exclude Pakistan from hosting the 2011 World Cup, the Pakistan board has issued a legal notice to cricket's governing body, calling the decision to do so discriminatory and "legally flawed."

The ICC decided at a recent board meeting in Dubai to take away Pakistan's share, as one of four co-hosts, of the World Cup matches. The move came after terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team during their February-March tour, which was itself the first major bilateral contest in Pakistan since October 2007. A number of teams since then had refused to visit in the wake of an unsettled and increasingly violent domestic backdrop. The meeting also said that international cricket was unlikely to return to Pakistan till 2011.

Ijaz Butt, chairman of PCB, had hitherto maintained a stony silence on the decision, to the ire of much of the population here. But at a press conference at the board's HQ in Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium, flanked by senior officials and legal advisors, he said that the manner in which the ICC decision was taken was "legally flawed...unfair and discriminatory" and that Pakistan intended to fight for its right as co-host.

The notice has been sent through its legal advisors Mark Gay, of DLA Piper, and Tafazzul Rizvi, the PCB's legal consultant. "We are most concerned about the manner in which the ICC took this decision," Butt said. "There was no notice prior to the meeting that a decision of this nature would be taken. There was no proper security assessment of Pakistan nor of the other Co-Hosts of the 2011 Tournament. We believe that more could and should have been done to review the actual situation to deal with the matter on a non-discriminatory basis. We will push for the matter to be expedited."

In particular, Pakistan's gripe, Butt clarified, was that the status of the 2011 World Cup was not on the original agenda of the ICC Board meeting on April 17 and 18 (when the decision was made). The implication is that Pakistan wasn't given a fair opportunity to defend its case as a co-host.

"This issue was not on the agenda," Butt said. "There was a discussion of the Sri Lankan attacks on the agenda and this topic came up. They never gave us notice and it was not on the agenda. We want to revoke the decision full stop."

Butt repeatedly pointed to what he claimed were also uncertain security environments in the other co-hosts - India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - and said that provisions are in place for such decisions to be taken as late as 18 months before an ICC event, something that would have given the board time to prepare a security plan and for inspections to be carried out. It is the absence of this process, more than anything else, which has seemingly spurred the PCB's move to send a legal notice.

The legal notice has been sent to the ICC president David Morgan and under the ICC's constitution, the PCB is asking for the matter to be referred to the disputes resolution committee. "The matter has been submitted to the president of the ICC's dispute resolution committee. He can either refer the matter to the dispute resolution committee which is made up of ICC's officials or to the independent arbitration before the court of arbitration sport court. The PCB prefer impartial arbitration in the interest of justice, equity and fairplay."

If the disputes resolution committee fails to come up with a satisfactory solution, the option to take the case further remains. "There are two options with the disputes resolution committee," Salim Altaf, the board's chief operating officer, told Cricinfo. "Normally all disputes are resolved there. But if there is no satisfactory resolution, then the case can be sent to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), in Lausanne, Switzerland."

Ratification of the ICC's decision was expected to take place at the annual board meeting in June, though now that no longer seems a foregone conclusion.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris on May 11, 2009, 17:51 GMT

    Once again PCB attempt to control world cricket. After a massive failing in security, right up there with the Munich Olympics, they expect to somehow drag the rest of the sub-continent into the affair and have them lose the world cup too. They've had weeks to think this up, is this the best they can do?

  • imran on May 11, 2009, 16:25 GMT

    Well, whats the harm in trying to fight the case? Whether you loose it or win it, you can satisfy the people of pakistan that we fought for you. Many people are saying players are not willing to play. Well, if you go back in history and look at the world cup in 2003, Australia, New Zealand, England, and even South Africa was not willing to play in Zimbabwe. But the hosting rights were not stripped off but instead points were allotted to Zimbabwe since those teams didn't play. But here this goes more than those teams now there are more teams to say NO. The security is not as bad as you see in media but the incident with SL team made it look aweful. I am sure security situation in pakistan is as bad as in SL and Bangla but the support from Asian bloc didn't come to rescue. ONLY the incident with SL team should not be the decisive factor. I assume the decision both from ICC and PCB is in a haste. PCB has every right to fight legally for hosting rights. Cricket is now all about $$ MONEY $$

  • Farrukh on May 11, 2009, 15:45 GMT

    It is necessary to host World Cup 2011 in Pakistan also because Cricket will promote in this area other wise Pakistan go back in this big sports, Money is not the issue for this because every one know life is more important for every thing and Pakistan can do every thing this time. but ICC should give chance to Pakistan before World Cup 2011 to arrange some other tournament if ICC will satisfied then announce schedule finally.

  • Mohammad on May 11, 2009, 13:01 GMT

    Mr Butt is certainly right about fighting against the ICC's decision. what mostly surprises me is he refers to lack of security in India, Bangladesh and Srilanka as a scapegoat. People in teh ICC responsible for taking this decision is just worried that Pakistan has failed to provide security to an internation cricket team on their tour....what a shame as Butt should instead be fighting with his government as why the security for the Srilankan Cricket team was not enhanced for their safey. ICC has taken the right decision to ban Pakistan to host world cup matches and shame them worldwide. Some might argue that terrorist activities took place in India during a series as well.but the point tehy are missing out is that it did not concern the touring English Cricketers. They were given full proof security. Pakistan can also learn a lesson from their neighbour Bangladesh, who cancelled Pakistan tour of Bangladesh as they were not able to provide appropriate security.Learn from your mistakes

  • Tami on May 11, 2009, 12:10 GMT

    It is sad to hear people saying things about India and Sri Lanka, when no other country was willing to visit Pakistan, Sri Lankan team moved forward in the spirit of game and came to Pakistan. The whole team almost got killed and this is what they are getting now. Instead of showing some gratitude to Sri Lankans people here are leaving meaningless comments. People who think matches should move to Dubai, the problem is that PCB will gain nothing from those venues. But PCB has gone to the wrong path here, I doubt any Asian Country will support Pakistan in the future. Remember how sub-con stand along Pakistan for Champions Trophy. Further nobody is reading Newspaper here, it is just the reality that no CRICKET TEAM wants to visit Pakistan. I doubt PCB will win this case and I am sure they will have sad years to come after. Current PCB is really a team of kids that want money and are blind to reality.

  • talib on May 11, 2009, 11:54 GMT

    Good step by PCB.... ICC always act under presure of India lobby, thats the reason they took this unilateral decision. I am sure Pakistan has a very strong case to get back the matches... otherwise 2011 should be alloted to Australia and NZ

  • prateek on May 11, 2009, 11:13 GMT

    There is huge differnce between security conditions in a country and ability to provide security.PCB dig its grave when terrorists were allowed to attack international players.Hoping that SLC sues PCB for providing presidential security without bullet proof bus.

  • Mradul on May 11, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    I just read one comment where it says "if not Pakistan then no one else in Asia either, you are right and so it should be". R u sure mate that after this any Asian country will be willing to support Pakistan on any cricketing matter from here on? If Pakistan think that by doing this they can postpone the WC to 2015 in Asia then that's a sad and childish mistake, because if it does then either Pakistan will be hosting the WC all alone or will not be hosting at all as none of their neighbours will be supporting them after what they r trying to do right now. Pakistan if willing, should get ready to host WC all alone and also start convincing Cricketing teams to travel to them for that WC...

  • Rob on May 11, 2009, 10:23 GMT

    Has anyone of the commentators in favour of staging the world cup in Pakistan ever repeatedly been fired at? Try it, maybe you like it!

  • imran on May 11, 2009, 9:50 GMT

    I really feel it was a great move by the PCB, but i still doubt the decision will go in our favour. At least we will not go down without a fight.I think one of the reasons for alot of the decisions going against us or being made quickly is becasue the CEO of the ICC is an Indian Mr Lorgat. I dont understand why cricket can carry on in India after those terrorist attacks but whereas in Pakistan its the compelete opposite. I think there is alot of hypocrasy on the part of the ICC. I dont think Paksitan should mention Sri Lanka's name in this as they were the only country to tour us. I think the matches which were schuduled to be played in Paksitan should be moved to Dubai/Sharjah/Abu Dhabi.

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