London: Members of the ICC will have the chance on Thursday to raise and debate their concerns about the scheduling of World Cup matches in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
England players appealed on Monday for their match in Harare to be shifted because of the volatile political situation in Zimbabwe. New Zealand have asked for their two games in Kenya to be moved because of “active terrorist organisations” operating there.
Six of the 54 matches in the tournament being held mainly in South Africa and starting on February 9 are scheduled to be held in Zimbabwe, and two in Kenya.
The issues will be discussed in a teleconference starting at 1000 GMT on Thursday, the ICC said in a statement Wednesday.
“The safety and security of players and officials is of paramount importance. Comprehensive and detailed plans are in place to provide the necessary level of security for the tournament,” said chief executive Malcolm Speed.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will allow boards to raise any concerns about the ability of these arrangements to deal with any real or perceived security threats.”
The ICC said its executive board had previously seen no reason to move matches and “any country seeking to have any of its games moved will be asked to provide additional information that clearly demonstrates that it is unsafe for its team to fulfil its obligations.”
England sing US tune
A United States travel warning for its citizens for Zimbabwe is the latest reason being given by the English players to convince the ICC to move their World Cup match out of Harare.
England cricketers’ representative Richard Bevan Wednesday said the US warning provided further evidence to the fact that it is unsafe to play matches in Zimbabwe.
The US state department issued the warning Monday saying: “Zimbabwe is in the midst of political, economic and humanitarian crises with serious implications for the security situation in the country.
“All US citizens in Zimbabwe are urged to take those measures they deem appropriate to ensure their well being, including consideration of departure.”
Though the ICC has so far maintained that Zimbabwe was a safe venue, Bevan, chief of the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), believed in the wake of the US warning, ICC now had little option but to move the match to South Africa.
Tear gas in Harare
Zimbabwean police fired tear gas to break up a meeting called by Harare’s opposition mayor Wednesday and civic groups warned of nationwide protests against President Robert Mugabe during the World Cup.