<
>

Zimbabwe U-15s forced to withdraw from competition

It is being reported from the Caribbean that Zimbabwe have been forced out of the CLICO Under 15 International Championship after their team were denied British visas to travel to the region via London.

"Attempts at making alternative arrangements also proved futile and in light of the refusal by the British to grant the visas, Zimbabwe was forced to cancel its participation in the tournament," the tournament organisers said. Zimbabwean umpire Tinaye Matare is also a doubt after being also refused a visa to enter London.

However, a Foreign Office source denied that visas had been denied. "The umpire was refused because of incomplete documentation," he told Cricinfo. "As for the team, an official from ZC did call the Embassy last week to flag up the possibility of the U-15 team travelling to the Caribbean and to seek advice about visas. He was told that applications from anyone who had not traveled to the UK, US or EU in the past two years would expect to be handled by the visa office in Pretoria. At no point were they discouraged from applying. He accepted the timing would be tight. The FCO have checked and there's no record of any applications having been submitted. It's therefore not true to say they were refused visas."

Malaysia, who failed to make the original eight teams, will now replace Zimbabwe in competition which runs from April 19 to May 4. They will meet hosts West Indies in the opening match.