The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ali Bacher lines up Zimbabwe alternatives

Johannesburg: The chief executive officer of the 2003 World Cup organising committee, Ali Bacher, has said alternative venues have been put in place if matches can not be held in Zimbabwe.

“Contingency plans have been made if for reason beyond our control political decisions are taken not to play in Zimbabwe,” Bacher was quoted as saying in a newspaper Sunday. Zimbabwe is scheduled to host six matches.

“If we go into the World Cup with just one programme of action and no back-up, we will run into trouble,” he said. Bacher was reacting to reports that England and Australia are likely to refuse to play in Zimbabwe in view of the deteriorating political situation there.

The political crisis has intensified with Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe publicly criticising British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the recent World Summit on sustainable development.

“We have a stated objective to spread cricket throughout Africa. The best way to achieve this is to uplift the profile of the game outside South Africa and to spread the gospel of the game among Zimbabweans,” Bacher said.

A high-powered ICC security directorate will visit Zimbabwe next month and report back to Bacher on the security conditions. A decision on whether to shift matches from Zimbabwe is expected in November.

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