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Zimbabwe pullout hits ECB budget

London: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) agreed on Tuesday to cut its budgeted expenditure for 2003 by £4 million to compensate for the fall-out of the team’s withdrawal from its World Cup match in Zimbabwe.

“These cost savings are, primarily, the direct consequence of the ECB withdrawing England from its scheduled ICC World Cup match against Zimbabwe,” the ECB said in a statement.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced last week that it would be withholding £2.3 million from the ECB in lieu of probable compensation claims arising from the non-playing of the match in Harare.

The savings will affect all levels of cricket in England and Wales, from grassroots to the allocation of central contracts for the England team.

“It is regrettable that these cost savings need to be found, but they are part of the financial fall-out from the 2003 World Cup,” ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said. “It is only right and proper that all parts of the game should bear the pain.”

Each of the 18 first-class Counties is likely to receive £30,000 less this year than was originally intended. The ECB withdrew the England team from the Zimbabwe match because it did not receive satisfactory assurances about the security of players and officials.

The cost savings must now be ratified by the ECB Management Board at its next meeting on April 24. (Reuters)

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