x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

ICC pledge their support for Pakistan

The ICC has reiterated its commitment to the development of the sport in strife-torn Pakistan, after the two parties resolved their dispute over the staging rights of the 2011 World Cup yesterday.

DUBAI // The International Cricket Council (ICC) has reiterated its commitment to the development of the sport in strife-torn Pakistan, after the two parties resolved their dispute over the staging rights of the 2011 World Cup yesterday. Lawyers acting on behalf of the ICC and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) were finalising the terms of a commercial settlement last night, after an agreement was met for compensation over lost hosting rights.

The PCB was withdrawn as one of the four host nations for the limited overs showpiece because of concerns over the security situation in the country, which was emphasised by the deadly attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in March. However, it was decided the PCB will retain its host fees and receive an additional, undisclosed payment as compensation for the loss of staging rights, following a meeting at the ICC's head-quarters in Dubai Sports City.

David Morgan, the president of the ICC, said: "With this settlement we have a very good base on the one hand to stage a flagship event which will be the 2011 World Cup. "Secondly, and equally importantly, the PCB will be able to concentrate on the development of cricket in Pakistan in what is an extremely difficult time for the residents and people of the country, as well as the cricketers and cricket administrators.

"It is important that international cricket returns to Pakistan as soon as it is safe and secure for that to happen. "Without any doubt, as soon as the International Cricket Council and its security advisers believe that Pakistan has become a safe place again for international cricket to be played, ICC will be encouraging visiting teams to play Pakistan on their home territory." Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, added: "We would like cricket to come to Pakistan as soon as possible.

"We had an enormous amount of cooperation from the chairman, David Morgan, in appreciating our point of view and our problems in promoting the game of cricket. "The settlement is for the benefit, not just for the ICC and the PCB, but for the cricketing world. We don't see any problems now as far as hosting the Cricket World Cup is concerned. We are confident it will be a mega-event without any problems."

The PCB had originally explored the possibility of staging their quota of 14 matches in a neutral territory, with the UAE being their preferred destination. Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports City administrators had signalled their willingness to assist. However, the idea was quashed because of the extra strain it would put on the already highly complex logistics of staging the World Cup on the subcontinent.

Morgan added: "[The agreement] removes from Pakistan the obligations and responsibility of staging matches in other countries. That would have been extremely difficult." The ICC's commercial board will consider a proposal concerning how the disputed matches will be spread between the remaining host nations, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, when it meets in Johannesburg in October. The game's Dubai-based ruling body are also yet to settle on the new destination of the tournament secretariat, which was set to be housed in Lahore.

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