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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 January, 2004, 11:15 GMT
Zimbabwe stand firm
ECB chairman David Morgan
We are looking at compensation but also at playing in a third country or merely postponing
ECB chairman David Morgan
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has backed England into a corner by refusing to negotiate over their scheduled tour.

The England and Wales Cricket Board will discuss a boycott on Thursday but is also considering other options.

Newspaper reports claim the ECB could offer Zimbabwe compensation of US$1m if it confirms a boycott, or look to postpone or relocate the series.

But ZCU chief Vince Hogg told BBC Sport: "Definitely not. It is most important for us to play in Zimbabwe."

He said: "We want our cricket public and our fans to enjoy the game at home. As we've said before, it is important for us to develop the game of cricket in Zimbabwe.

"Playing games at home develops interest in the game, it gives our players exposure and exposes international cricket to our public."

Hogg also ruled out the possibility of putting the tour off until a later date.

"The tour is due in October and we need it to be played on schedule."

Manoeuvre

The news will leave little room to manoeuvre for the ECB, whose chairman David Morgan confirmed it wanted to negotiate with the ZCU.

"We are going to use February to negotiate with the ZCU and ICC (International Cricket Council)," Morgan said.

"We need to know all the impacts that might be made by a cancellation. We are looking at compensation but also at the possibility of playing in a third country or merely postponing."

Hogg declined to comment on the possibility of the possibility of the ECB offering compensation.

"This is news to me, so I'd have to think about that and obviously refer any communication to the board."

ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka has e-mailed the 18 English county clubs warning of major financial repercussions if the tour is cancelled.

The International Cricket Council, meanwhile, has admitted a boycott appears likely, despite reminding England of an agreement to consider only safety and security issues when contemplating a boycott.

Hogg admitted there was some resentment within the ZCU after England gave a verbal pledge to tour following Zimbabwe's visit last year.

"It's a huge let-down for us, as we've made clear in all our statements so far," he added. "As the World Cup boycott was, by the way."


WATCH AND LISTEN
ZCU chief Vince Hogg
"The most important thing for us to play in Zimbabwe"



SEE ALSO
Six biggest controversies of 2003
31 Dec 03  |  Cricket
England forfeit Zimbabwe points
15 Feb 03  |  England
England game called off
12 Feb 03  |  England
Repercussions of a boycott
21 Jan 04  |  Cricket



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