World Cup 2011 May 21, 2009

PCB to meet board chiefs over WC dispute


The PCB will sit down with the ICC and World Cup hosts India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, in Dubai on June 3 to try and reach an out-of-court settlement over the 2011 World Cup dispute that saw Pakistan's share of matches taken away over security concerns. Since the decision in April - taken after the terrorist attacks on Sri Lanka in Lahore in March - Pakistan and the ICC have been locked in a legal wrangle; the PCB filed a notice over the decision, calling it discriminatory and illegal and arguing that the correct procedures had not been followed. The meeting is the first indication of any kind that the impasse may be resolved outside of a courtroom.

The meeting will be attended by ICC president David Morgan, Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, and top officials from the BCCI, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB). Sharad Pawar, the former BCCI president and Morgan's chosen successor, will also be part of the meeting.

It appears to be the result of Butt's recent trips to Sri Lanka and India, where he met DS de Silva, the SLC chairman, and Pawar to drum up support and discuss Pakistan's case. After the spate of legal action - which included filing a case in a Lahore civil court against the removal of the World Cup secretariat from Lahore to Mumbai and also referring the entire matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sports - relations between the PCB and the ICC, as well as other members, had worsened considerably. Butt's visits were seen also as diplomatic missions to improve communications between PCB and the remaining hosts of the world cup.

"I had very detailed discussions with Mr Pawar and the meeting went well," Butt told Cricinfo. "We decided some solution has to be worked out and we will have a discussion in Dubai on June 3. David Morgan, Mr Pawar and the heads of SLC and BCB will all be there as we discuss the situation and work towards a solution."

Since the legal notice, the ICC has vigorously refuted Pakistan's claims point by point but also clarified, crucially, that Pakistan's hosting rights to the tournament had not been taken away. For an embattled board, it was a victory of sorts, leaving the option open apparently for a neutral venue to come into play.

"We sent them a legal notice and they replied," Butt said. "And they acknowledged that our hosting rights cannot be taken from us. These are contractual commitments that are strong even if we agree that there might be different interpretations there."

As the PCB has moved forward with its two-pronged strategy of legal action on one hand and back-channel communication on the other, little has emerged about what Pakistan actually wants from their actions. No country is willing to visit Pakistan after the terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team in March in Lahore, a feeling made clear at the ICC meeting in April when the decision was originally made. Speculation suggested Pakistan wanted either financial compensation or a move to 'host' its share of matches at a neutral venue.

Butt confirmed that the neutral venues option was in the pipeline but would come up only after the correct process had been followed. This will be top of the agenda at the Dubai meeting. "First our hosting rights cannot be taken away just like that, that we have to clear. There are four full-member countries who are hosts and all signed this one agreement with the IDI. There are terms and conditions in there.

"We will, as per the agreement we have all signed, submit a satisfactory security plan to the ICC for games in Pakistan. Should that plan not be satisfactory then we will put forward a proposal for a neutral venue, be that in the Middle East or Kuala Lumpur. That process and procedure is part of the hosting agreement that we all signed."

Whether or not the co-hosts are keen on a neutral venue, in particular Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is not clear yet. The ICC has not entirely ruled out the option. "The ICC has never received any proposals from the PCB on alternate venues so we cannot speculate on how the ICC Board would deal with any requests," an ICC spokesperson told Cricinfo recently.

According to sources within the BCCI, however, the idea may not be so popular. Butt discussed with Pawar the financial importance of Pakistan hosting matches in Dubai as a cash-strapped board can ill-afford to lose 14 World Cup matches, the sources told Cricinfo. The host for each World Cup match receives US$750,000 from the ICC for the "extra work", 100% of gate receipts and 100% of money raised through hospitality.

Pawar, however, conveyed to Butt during their lunchtime meeting on Sunday that the BCCI was not keen on Dubai as a neutral option, and reiterated the Indian and ICC stance that the 2011 World Cup is a subcontinent event, and should stay as one.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahsan on May 22, 2009, 13:06 GMT

    I'd like to put some water on the fire here, and request everyone around that by creating differences we can never achieve peace and success. So lets come together and live by appreciating of what's common in us, than whats not. The best solution should be that either all 4 countries host the 2011 event or swap it with 2015. It's not as if there's no tomorrow. If someone is in problem today, others might be tomorrow. Lets learn something good from the west. What US & EU are today is only because of their unity (not disparity) even when they have difference of opinion internally. My humble request to all the concerned people (specially who are in power today) to be wise and stop acting like 'Might is Right'. Greed Kills, while Peace is Priceless! and it only comes when we are fair in our dealings, not by exploiting and manipulating the weakest. Strong & Long-Live the subcontinent ... the world! Remember: to every sunset there's sunrise!

  • Noman on May 22, 2009, 12:36 GMT

    Mr Ejaz Butt who are you trying to kid by submitting security plans? the question is who would wanna visit pakistan in these conditions? you know it better than anone else.... So just get to the point - money!!!!

  • Muthuvel on May 22, 2009, 9:54 GMT

    Country 'a' wants to host WC cricket and bags the right to host along with others. Country 'a' becomes engulfed in internal strife and becomes dangerous place to visit. ALl parties decline from playing in country 'a' because they do not want to die. Country 'a' opposes this move tooth and nail and promises presidential security the same that got breached so easily on national television last time during the terror attack. Country 'a' would get something out of this now probably some money, but it appears it will never evern win a right to host again in a century.

  • Rauf on May 22, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    To prats_p: A cricket board doing something purely for financial purposes. I wonder where have I heard that before specially in sub continent? Looks like your geography or knowledge of aviation is as poor as your analysis. Google and find out flying times between Karachi, Colombo, Dhaka, Mumbai and Dubai. I believe the average is about 3 hours. This may come as a big surprise to you but we have been living in jet age for few decades now. You are perhaps measuring flight times and fatigue in a vintage DC-3. BTW... Flying time between Melbourne and Wellington is 3 hours (2015 CWC). I hope PCB gets the neutral venue for it's share of matches but watch out for BCCI to make big fuss over it as usual.

  • Naresh on May 22, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    I think ICC should award WC rights to cities instead of countries and continents - the focus should be on the game and not travel. This should be done like the Olympics

  • Asad on May 22, 2009, 5:10 GMT

    1) It is subcontinent-oriented world cup. So Pakistan deserves its share of the money...that's fair. 2) the world cup has been hosted before by more than one country, so it's nothing new. also, with different groups involved and an increased number of teams, it's all very feasible. 3) I also don't think that Dubai is a feasible option. However, in order to maximize financial gain, the PCB has to offer alternate venues. 4) I am Pakistani, I love Pakistan. But you know what, I also love India. I think some of the people here use this forum to subconsciously express hatred. Please note: sports is here to bridge gaps, not create them.

  • Mohammed on May 22, 2009, 4:48 GMT

    2011 world cup should only be hosted by India and Bangladesh. Then in 2015 Pakistan and Srilanka will have the sole right to organize WC jointly. ( I feel, after just ended war the situation in Srilanka is still precarious, if Srilanka's enemy fight back in right time; because the enemy is burning for revenge)I hope every body understands. See you Australia and Newzeeland in 2019!

  • salman on May 22, 2009, 4:12 GMT

    Well its good to see that now pakistan is Fighting back on every front either internal or external we as nation will back PCB to go and fight for the right of this nation, and there is no harm in arranging pak 14 matches in dubai , if BCCI have some problem with dubai then never enter in dubai,now lahore attack is the history thts gone away now we need to look forward now after swat operation pak condition is improving and we all know in up coming months it will be all fit and fine and in case pak WC is not for Pak then neither for other 3 because it was a combined bid.

  • Cricinfouser on May 22, 2009, 4:04 GMT

    This has been a great success of PCB that ICC has to take a defensive approach and recognize Pakistan's rights to host the mega event. Had this been any other sports body than ICC then people like David Morgan and Haroon Logart should have been sent packing for taking such a major decision and then later on they had to eat humble pie.

  • Tami on May 22, 2009, 2:16 GMT

    After reading the article few times, I was thinking, at the end of the day none of the parties are still in agreement. But lets hope we will have a good WC.

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