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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 13:38 GMT
Zimbabwe gets Games green light
The city of Manchester Stadium
Sanctions may affect Manchester 2002 this summer
Zimbabwe will be allowed to compete in the 2002 Commonwealth Games despite calls for the country to be banned.

The African nation has already been suspended from the Commonwealth proper in response to violence during the re-election of President Mugabe recently.

New Zealand had already called for that ban to be extended to the Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Manchester in July.

And Australia's cancellation of their cricket tour of Zimbabwe has added to the mounting pressure on the nation.

We'll be seeking the support of other Commonwealth nations
New Zealand foreign minister Phil Goff

But Mike Hooper, chief executive of the Commonwealth Games Federation, does not want Zimbabwe banned from the Games.

He said: "Zimbabwe remains a member of the Commonwealth and as a Commonwealth nation they are invited to participate.

"The decision by the Australian Cricket Board not to proceed with a tour of Zimbabwe, whatever the reasons, is really a matter for them and it is a single-sport issue.

"It certainly does not impact upon our rules with regard to all members of the Commonwealth being eligible to compete in the Commonwealth Games.

"It is not for us to make a decision on eligibility. The only people who can make such a decision are those in government."

New Zealand called for the ban after announcing it will be imposing trade and travel sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Foreign minister Phil Goff said: "We are acting to advocate for the removal of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth Games, which will have a very specific impact.

"We'll be seeking the support of other Commonwealth nations for that.

Commonwealth Games chief executive Mike Hooper
"All Commonwealth countries are welcome at the Games"
Zimbabwe athletics official Tabani Konye
"We will continue with our preparations until we're told otherwise"
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