PCB take on ICC

PCB abstention weakens its case

Ajay S Shankar

May 13, 2009

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Ijaz Butt tries to get his point across, Lahore, March 5, 2009
Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, chose to stay away from voting during the ICC meeting © AFP
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The Pakistan Cricket Board's decision to abstain from voting has left it on weak legal ground on the case of the ICC's decision to move the World Cup matches outside Pakistan, according to legal advice received by the ICC.

Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, chose to stay away from voting during the ICC board meeting that decided on the issue in Dubai on April 17.

"The final vote during that meeting has been recorded as having been a unanimous one," ICC sources told Cricinfo. "This should work strongly in the ICC's favour. If the PCB had any objection at that point of time, they should have voted against the move instead of abstaining. Legally, as it is, they have a weak case."

Pakistan was stripped of hosting rights because of the "uncertain security situation" in the country, and David Morgan, the ICC president, called it a "regrettable decision" but one that was taken to "deliver a safe, secure and successful event."

The PCB announced that it had issued a legal notice to the ICC on the World Cup issue on May 9, three weeks after the ICC arrived at its decision. The PCB called the ICC board's decision discriminatory and legally flawed and subsequently wrote to the world body asking for the case to be referred to the independent Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) "in the interests of fair play".

The ICC, in contrast, has largely remained silent on the issue till Haroon Lorgat, its chief executive, told reporters at Lord's this week that they would deal with the situation. "On the PCB issue, I believe it's better for me to say less on it," Lorgat said. "It is the subject of a dispute and we'll have to deal with it."

The ICC official also dismissed suggestions that the 14 World Cup matches that were to be held in Pakistan could have been staged in neutral venues like Dubai and Abu Dhabi to avoid a confrontation of this nature. "It was an absurd concept especially after it has been decided by the ICC that the subcontinent will stage the World Cup alternatively," the official said.

Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo

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