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ICC clears air over PCB's claims

The ICC today confirmed it had responded formally by rejecting the legal claims initiated last week by the PCB concerning the hosting of the 2011 World Cup matches

Cricinfo staff
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat at a press conference after a World Cup meeting, Mumbai, April 28, 2009

Haroon Lorgat: "The ICC board's decision that matches in the World Cup could not be played in Pakistan was taken on the basis of what was best for all 104 of the ICC's members"  •  AFP

The ICC has rejected the legal claims initiated last week by the PCB over the shifting out from Pakistan of the 2011 World Cup matches scheduled to be held in that country. A statement issued by its chief executive Haroon Lorgat, which sought to clarify "factual inaccuracies and misunderstandings" in the PCB's claim, pointed out that the ICC had not decided, at its meeting on April 17, to remove the PCB as a co-host of the event but only that the matches assigned to the PCB should be played outside Pakistan.
The Pakistan board has adopted a two-pronged legal strategy in response to the ICC's actions. Last week, it served a legal notice to the ICC; on Tuesday , the PCB asked Michael Beloff, president of the ICC Disputes Resolution Committee, to refer the matter to the Court of Arbitration in Sport in Switzerland. And the next day it filed a case in a Lahore court against the ICC's decision to move the headquarters of the 2011 World Cup from Lahore to Mumbai.
However, Lorgat indicated today the PCB may not have a solid case. "We used our response to clarify inaccuracies and misunderstandings in the PCB's claim, including confirmation of the fact that the agenda and the board papers for the recent ICC board meetings did very specifically raise the question of whether the 2011 World Cup matches assigned to the PCB as joint hosts should be relocated outside of Pakistan," he said.
"We also pointed out that the ICC board agreed only that the World Cup matches should be moved away from Pakistan, not that the PCB should be removed from its position as a joint host of the event itself. The suggestion the ICC board was not empowered to decide that matches should be moved away from Pakistan and that such a decision was 'legally flawed' is also incorrect and without foundation."
Among the PCB's contentions is the ICC board's authority to take the decisions - its constitution accords these powers to its commercial arm, the IDI. However, Lorgat said the ICC board had broad powers under its constitution and was not only is it entitled to make a decision on this matter but had a responsibility to do so on behalf of its members.
"The World Cup is our flagship event. Given that, we need to deliver a tournament that is safe, secure and, above all, successful and it was on that basis that the decision was taken that matches could not be played in Pakistan."
Lorgat said he was disappointed by the PCB's exercising its legal options instead of communicating with the ICC and hoped it would withdraw its claims. "We hope it realises that by attempting to pursue the matter through legal channels, it will result in the diversion of funds and resources better served to ensure a safe, secure and successful tournament in 2011, something that will benefit all our members, including Pakistan."