PCB's stand-off with ICC

Pakistan discusses two World Cup options

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

May 16, 2009

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Ijaz Butt issues a legal notice to the ICC, Lahore, May 9, 2009
Ijaz Butt met with Sri Lanka board counterparts to discuss the 2011 World Cup © Associated Press

Pakistan has put forward two options as it strives to retrieve what benefits it still can from the 2011 World Cup. In a meeting with Sri Lanka board counterparts, Ijaz Butt, the Pakistan board chairman, suggested a swap for World Cups or for the subcontinent boards to jointly ask the ICC to allow Pakistan to present alternate solutions.

The first option - swapping the 2011 World Cup, which is to be jointly hosted now by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, for the 2015 edition to be held in Australia and New Zealand - was put forth by former ICC president Ehsan Mani, who is advising the PCB on the World Cup. The ICC had stripped Pakistan of its rights to co-host the 2011 World Cup following the terrorist attack in Lahore when gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan team bus. The PCB responded by serving a legal notice to the ICC for its decision to move the World Cup headquarters from Lahore to Mumbai.

DS de Silva, the SLC chairman, said he would stand by any decision made at the ICC meeting in Dubai though he would discuss the PCB's options with the rest of the interim committee members and get back to the PCB accordingly. The SLC will also wait for feedback from India and Bangladesh, with whom Butt will also meet on this diplomatic tour before taking a final decision on the World Cup options.

Butt put forward the same argument that forms the basis of the PCB's legal notice to the ICC; that the uncertain security situation in the entire subcontinent, following the terror attacks in Mumbai and Lahore, poor political relations between India and Pakistan and the slow pace of preparations for the World Cup indicated the subcontinent was not prepared to host the tournament in another two years. It is believed that this is option is unlikely to win backing among the co-hosts.

In the event of that option failing, Pakistan wants the Asian bloc to ask the ICC to provide them with an opportunity to provide alternate solutions on their internal security problems. This may, as some in the PCB have already suggested, mean shifting Pakistan's matches to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The ICC has not ruled out the option, saying only that Pakistan had yet to make such a proposal.

Butt also argued that Pakistan should be allowed to retain the right to have the central secretariat of the World Cup because it was on this premise that the PCB agreed to host a lesser number of matches than it did in the 1996 World Cup.

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