The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ECB wants special exemption

London: In a day of contrasting opinions, the ECB found Zimbabwe rather unsafe, the ACB said it wasn’t quite, as Adam Gilchrist pointed out that they were fence-sitting still, over the security controversy for World Cup matches. At the same time, New Zealand Cricket has found Nairobi to be unsafe.

And, if that wasn’t enough, Bob Geldof is planning to raise money so England can “buy off” that controversial match with the £ 1 million ($ 1.64m).

English cricket chiefs are considering asking the ICC for a special exemption to allow their World Cup match in Zimbabwe to be moved to South Africa.

ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said Monday: “We might be able to argue that there is a special case and request having the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa.”

Lamb, along with England players’ spokesman Richard Bevan said cricket could not afford a situation where the games in Zimbabwe were also the scenes for anti-Mugabe protests which could be “ruthlessly suppressed with a possible loss of life.”

Lamb added that there were specific reasons for moving England’s match in particular.

“Given the historical ties between the two countries, since the founding of the country and through the Southern Rhodesia and independence periods… we might be able to argue that there is a special case and request having the fixture against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa.”

Geldof appeal

Pop star turned charity fundraiser Bob Geldof is behind an attempt to get England out of their controversial World Cup match in Zimbabwe.

Geldof and a human rights organisation, the Aegis Trust, are attempting to raise the money they say would cover the financial penalties England would face if they boycotted their Harare match on February 13.

Geldof said England had a moral duty to withdraw: “On a day in which perhaps thousands will die of state-sponsored famine, the English nation as represented by their cricket team will be guests of their perpetrator, Robert Mugabe,” the Irishman told Tuesday’s London Evening Standard.

“Against these facts a game of cricket is wholly absurd. We must withdraw. I wholly endorse this appeal for you to pick up the telephone and buy this game off,” the former lead singer of the Boomtown Rats insisted.

Aussies confident

Australians, though, are still intending to travel to Zimbabwe, saying England’s change of heart has not altered their plans, adds a report from Melbourne.

Opening batsman Matthew Hayden told reporters Tuesday the players were happy to be guided by what the ACB recommended.

Hayden said the players were planning a meeting with the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) before they depart to discuss the issue again.

However, the ACB says it is satisfied the players will be safe.

However, after receiving the Allan Border Medal as Australia’s Cricketer of the Year, Adam Gilchrist said Tuesday the team should reassess the attitude to playing in Zimbabwe.

“We haven’t really learned too much more about the scenario since hearing what the English team have come out and said. We’ll assess that over the next few days,” he said. But Gilchrist denied that the team didn’t want to travel to Zimbabwe.

Nairobi unsafe: NZC

In Wellington, NZC says it has information strongly suggesting it is unsafe for the Black Caps to play in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, venue for a World Cup game next month.

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