A preliminary decision on whether to take the ICC Champions Trophy away from Sri Lanka, with the UAE as a possible alternative venue, is due to be taken today. The International Cricket Council chief executives' committee will discuss this afternoon whether the competition remains in Sri Lanka during September and October, with its full body making a final ruling on Monday.
Pakistan was originally due to host the one-day competition between the world's top eight sides last year but, after several teams voiced security concerns about playing there, the ICC reacted by postponing the event, before agreeing to switch venues last month. But relocating to Sri Lanka, the original reserve venue, also has its problems, as it will be the monsoon season in the autumn. But there are also serious security concerns over Sri Lanka, which is in military conflict with the Tamil Tigers separatist group. A suicide bomber in the south of the country killed 14 people yesterday, while the pro-rebel Tamilnet website claimed 129 civilians were killed and 200 others wounded as Sri Lanka's army shelled northern Tamil Tiger-controlled areas.
The UAE, with its stadia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports City (DSC), which is due to open next month, and Johannesburg in South Africa have been offered as alternative venues. The Abu Dhabi Cricket Council president Dilawar Mani has expressed his desire to hold ICC events in the capital, which will be co-hosting next month's Pakistan and Australia one-day series along with DSC. And Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager for cricket, said: "What is decided is that the Champions Trophy has to be held in one place with at least two venues and completed in 12 days so that narrows down the choice of other possible options."