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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 13:26 GMT
Minnows hit by Cup shortfall
Holland showed promise in the World Cup
Teams like Holland have been hit by the cancellation of the series
Cricket's minor nations have been forced to bear the brunt of a funding shortfall from the World Cup with the cancellation of the World Cup Qualifying Series.

Boycotts by England and New Zealand have led to threats from television companies and sponsors to withhold money due to the International Cricket Council (ICC).

It has prompted the ICC to drop the series, announced just weeks ago and designed to incorporate the ICC's 27 affiliate members and 47 associates.

The news delivers a body blow to teams like Holland and Canada, both of whom are desperate for more competitive cricket.

Along with Scotland, hosts Kenya, Namibia and United Arab Emirates, they were due to compete in Division One of the series in September.

There were to be four divisions in all, with promotion and relegation along the lines of tennis' David Cup a feature of the competition.

"Unfortunately, the series has been cancelled," confirmed Andrew Eade, development manager of the ICC.

"The ICC Trophy [involving non-Test nations] will still be played, but we will now have to explore alternative avenues for these teams."

Reduced grants

Eade stressed the decision to scrap the series was made by the nations themselves, but for it to proceed would have resulted in their grants being greatly reduced.

Eade admitted the ICC was premature in giving the series the go-ahead in the midst of financial uncertainty.

"We though there was sufficient funding but in hindsight we should have known the possible implications from the World Cup," he said.

"This is not a positive development for nations below Test status or cricket in general, but we will continue to look at other initiatives to allow these teams to play more."

England and New Zealand have had part of their tournament payments frozen by the ICC because of their boycotts.

And India have had their entire purse of US $9m (5.7m) held back until their long-running contracts row with the ICC is resolved.

The ICC has threatened to suspend India's membership if they are not forthcoming in an effort to settle the matter.

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