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Former sports minister attacks ICC stance on Zimbabwe

Hoey slams 'supine complicity' of ICC

Cricinfo staff

May 13, 2007

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Kate Hoey: 'ICC officials ... allow themselves to be used as stooges for Mugabe's grandstanding to the world' © Getty Images
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Kate Hoey, the former UK sports minister who is chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Zimbabwe, welcomed the news that John Howard had barred the Australian side from touring Zimbabwe in September.

"It's very good to hear the Australian government has given a clear moral lead and shown solidarity with those brave Zimbabweans who daily risk life and limb to free their country from the brutal dictatorship of Robert Mugabe," Hoey said. "I was approached this week by cricket fans in Zimbabwe who asked me to help get the tour called off. They told me that they love their cricket and they love their country and were determined not to allow Mugabe to use the Australia tour to camouflage his oppression.

"Mugabe has installed political commissars Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute to run the game; sport in Zimbabwe has been taken over by his regime for propaganda purposes to give a gloss of normality and divert attention from his murderous political oppression.

Mugabe has installed political commissars Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute to run the game
"Cricket fans in Zimbabwe despair at the supine complicity of ICC officials who allow themselves to be used as stooges for Mugabe's grandstanding to the world. The rising generation who are Africa's future feel utterly betrayed and disgusted by the short-sighted self-serving stupidity of these sports bureaucrats."

Hoey, who has been a vocal critic of the ICC's treatment of the Zimbabwe situation, accused it of giving a message that "it couldn't care less about dying Zimbabweans." She continued: "It just wants to make sure it gets a few million dollars out of the tour to divvy up with Mugabe's murderers - it is bloodstained money.

"I share the view of Mary Robinson, the president of Oxfam and former UN high commissioner for human rights, that there should be a sporting boycott of Zimbabwe to bring an end to Mugabe's reign of terror. I want the ICC to suspend Zimbabwe Cricket and to cancel all planned matches involving Zimbabwe."

Hoey has secretly visited Zimbabwe three times in the last four years and has seen first hand the problems facing the country.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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