Weather concerns could prompt the ICC to move the Champions Trophy away from Sri Lanka. The tournament, scheduled to be played in October, may be shifted to Australia, South Africa or the United Arab Emirates, according to the ICC's general manager, Dave Richardson.
The seventh Champions Trophy was due to be held in Pakistan last year, but was postponed due to security concerns. The eight-team tournament has since been shrouded in uncertainty, with questions raised as to whether it could be accommodated in an already crowded international schedule and doubts over the suitability of Sri Lanka as a venue. Some critics have called for the Champions Trophy to be scrapped entirely, arguing that it now trails the World Cup and World Twenty20 in terms of prestige and holds little appeal for competing teams.
Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, Richardson admitted seasonal concerns - October is one of the wettest months in Colombo - had prompted the ICC to consider relocating the tournament to a drier venue. Richardson added that the 2009 Champions Trophy could be condensed to 12-days, and played in a region where two or more grounds are lin close proximity, thereby reducing travelling time between matches.
"Some doubts have been raised as far as Sri Lanka is concerned mainly from the weather prospective," Richardson said. "Questions have been raised whether it's wise to hold a tournament where rain is often affecting in October.
"If it's not Sri Lanka, the board has decided that we want to hold the tournament over 12 days, which means that we have to have two venues in virtually the same city. Certainly there can't be any question of international travel being involved. That itself narrows the options down considerably. Perhaps Perth, Johannesburg-Pretoria, Dubai-Abu Dhabi might be an option.
"There are couple of options which need to be considered and (those venues) would be in frame when the decision is made."