PCB confrontation with ICC intensifies

Days after serving the ICC with a legal notice over its decision to remove Pakistan as 2011 World Cup co-hosts, the PCB has ratcheted up the stakes in its confrontation further, sending a letter to Michael Beloff, president of the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee, to refer the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS).

"The Pakistan Cricket Board...has now sent a letter to Hon Michael Beloff QC, President of ICC Disputes Resolution Committee, to refer the matter to arbitration tribunal appointed in accordance with the rules of Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) to be held in United Kingdom," said a statement released by the board today.

The board has challenged the removal as being in contravention of ICC Articles of Association and also to the Host Agreement of 2006, whereby the World Cup was awarded jointly to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, did not comment on the issue. "I believe it's better for me to say less on it," he told Cricinfo. "It is the subject of a dispute and we'll have to deal with it."

The PCB said that "since the decision was taken by ICC executive board the PCB deems it appropriate that in the interest of justice, equity and fair play the matter should be adjudicated by CAS rather than the ICC disputes resolution committee."

The board has asked the ICC to expedite the matter. The letter to Beloff has been sent through Mark Gay of DLA Piper, who will be assisted by Taffazul Rizvi, the PCB's legal advisor, the statement said.

There is a feeling within the board that they have been targeted by certain members of the ICC, who have used the situation to their advantage. It is believed that Pakistan are willing to pursue the option of Abu Dhabi and Dubai as a 'surrogate' host for Pakistan's matches, though no official proposal has yet been tabled.

In its legal notice to cricket's governing body earlier, the PCB called the decision to do so discriminatory and "legally flawed" after the ICC, at a recent board meeting in Dubai, decided to take away Pakistan's share 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.