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 Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 12:08 GMT
World Cup crisis timeline
Chronology of cricket's involvement in the Zimbabwe crisis.


February 2001

The International Cricket Council (ICC) approves outline plans for the format of the 2003 World Cup, which includes matches to be played in Zimbabwe.


August 2001

England's plans to play a five-match one-day international series in Zimbabwe are thrown into doubt

After white-owned farms are attacked and looted by government-backed militants, Labour MP Gareth Thomas says the matches should be cancelled unless the troubles subside.


October 2001

The tour goes ahead despite the worsening crisis, which is already leading to food shortages.

The race thing has spilled onto the field

Zimbabwe batsman
Alistair Campbell
England's 5-0 win takes to 16 matches the losing streak of a Zimbabwe side already demoralised by what it sees as political interference in team selection.

Former captain Alistair Campbell is given a suspended ban and subsequently dropped from the team after saying the team has been "torn apart" by race issues.

World Cup organisers announce a 54-match fixture-list, with Zimbabwe set to host six teams in the preliminary round of the tournament.


March 2002

We will do everything possible to make sure those matches take place in Zimbabwe

World Cup director
Ali Bacher
Australia cancel their scheduled tour of Zimbabwe citing safety concerns following the controversial re-election of Mugabe.

But a Zimbabwe government spokesman says the decision is political after Australian Prime Minister John Howard is a key mover in Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth.


August 2002

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) along with other major nations, signs a Participating Nations Agreement with the ICC.

The contracts commits the ECB to sending a full-strength team to fulfil all World Cup fixtures.


September 2002

The political issues surrounding Zimbabwe are matters for politicians

ICC president
Malcolm Gray
Amidst ongoing concern, the ICC decides to send a delegation made up of representatives of the countries set to play in Zimbabwe to decide whether the country is safe.

But the game's governing body insists that only safety, rather than political, concerns will be taken into account.


November 2002

Inzamam-ul Haq in action
Pakistan's safe tour convinces the ICC
Pakistan complete a tour to Zimbabwe, the first international matches since England's trip 12 months previously.

A series without incident off the field of play convinces an ICC delegation to give the green light for World Cup matches to go ahead.


December 2002

The British government gradually increases pressure on English cricket authorities to pull out of the match, fearing that it will be seen as a message of support for Mugabe.

If the ECB and the ICC say it's fine, then I've got to go on that

England captain
Nasser Hussain
However, Prime Minister Tony Blair stresses that the government has no power to force a boycott.

Cricket boards in the other five nations say they will play in Zimbabwe if it is considered safe, the Australian board going against government advice.

Fears grow that the ECB could lose up to 10m as a result of a pull-out, made up of ICC claims for compensation and expenses if Zimbabwe pull out of their tour of England.


January 2002

After riots in Harare, the ICC constitutes a standing committee to monitor the situation, admitting that the possibility of moving matches to South Africa remains.

The British government confirms that no compensation will be paid to the ECB if they withdraw from the game in Harare.

14 January 2002

The ECB announces at Lord's England's World Cup match in Zimbabwe will take place.

Protesters delay the press conference for almost three hours after storming the building.

Calls grow for World Cup matches in Zimbabwe to be boycotted

Zimbabwe decision

Background

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