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  England cricket row over Zimbabwe
Updated 09 January 2003, 17.33
England in action against Australia
England's cricketers may have just lost the Ashes in Australia - but they are facing a new worry.

This time it's not about winning their next big competition, but where it'll be played.

The Government wants the team to pull out of playing a World Cup match in Zimbabwe, in Africa, because of the country's record on human rights.

Officially the Government has no power to stop England playing in Zimbabwe.

But it's piling loads of pressure on England's Cricket Board to pull out of the match.

And it says it won't pay compensation if the England cricket team do pull out.

England are due to play Zimbabwe in one of their Cup matches on 13 February.

But lots of people think it would be wrong to play there.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has been criticised for his policy of seizing land owned by white farmers and for using violence against people who disagree with the way he runs the country.

What might happen

If England refuse to play:

  • They will not gain any points from a match they would expect to win, making it much harder to qualify for the next round
  • They face a 1m fine from the International Cricket Council (ICC), which is organising the tournament
  • The game stands to lose up to 10m in sponsorship and television cash
  • The Zimbabwe team might refuse to play their games in England later this year, causing the loss of millions of pounds in income

But cricket bosses don't see why they should be stopped from playing while lots of English businesses are still allowed to trade in Zimbabwe.

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England cricket captain Nasser Hussain What should England's cricketers do?
opening quoteI think they should take a stand. If they play there, it looks like they support President Mugabe!closing quote
Alex, 13, Sandhurst
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