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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 00:44 GMT
Cricket World Cup will continue
Malcolm Speed
The World Cup is the most important event for the ICC
The World Cup will carry on despite Thursday's shocking news that Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was murdered.

International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed confirmed at a news conference the tournament schedule would continue as planned.

"There has been speculation as a result of this (Woolmer's murder) the Cricket World Cup would be discontinued but this will not be the case," Speed said.

"The matches have continued since Sunday and they will Friday."

Woolmer was found in his hotel room in Kingston on Sunday morning, a day after Pakistan had been knocked out of the World Cup by Ireland.

He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Police confirmed on Thursday the 58-year-old had been strangled to death and believe he may have known his killer or killers.

606: SHOULD CUP GO ON?
Oliver Brett - BBC Sport

Speed said: "All our teams will continue to support the Jamaican police as much as possible."

He said there would be no changes to the timetable or the venues, with Jamaica hosting the final Group D game between West Indies and Ireland on Friday, and a semi-final on 24 April.

"It's a challenge to the game to be resolute and strong and finish the World Cup in good spirit," he said.

Speed admitted cricket did have a problem with corruption, but insisted it was too early to decide if that was related to Woolmer's death.

"We don't know whether this is corruption related at this stage; we can't jump to conclusions," he added.

Cancelling the tournament, especially with 26 matches still to be played after the group stage finishes on Monday, would cripple the ICC.

The millions in TV money paid out in advance, much of it by broadcasters based in south Asia where cricket enjoys mass appeal, would have to be reimbursed.

Chris Dehring
Cup organiser Chris Dehring has a tough job on his hands

After Ireland play the West Indies in their final group game on Friday, the World Cup will move away from Jamaica until a semi-final match on 24 April.

The last crisis of this magnitude faced by cricket came in 2000 when South Africa's captain Hansie Cronje admitted to having fixed matches for financial gain.

Banned from cricket for life, Cronje died in a plane crash in 2002. He worked closely for five years with Woolmer, who was South Africa coach from 1994 to 1999.

The findings of an Indian federal police investigation into corruption in cricket released in October 2000 named many leading players and claimed betting syndicates had potential links with the criminal underworld.

People bet millions of pounds on international cricket matches in the sub-continent, particularly in India and Pakistan, where the practice is illegal.

Although the ICC have installed an anti-corruption unit, there have been criticisms that it has only scratched the surface of the problem.

As recently as January this year, Indian police said they were investigating West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels over the player's alleged attempt to pass confidential team information to an illegal bookmaker during a one-day international in Nagpur.

Samuels is playing for West Indies at the World Cup.

SEE ALSO
Should World Cup continue?
23 Mar 07 |  Cricket
Police hunt for Woolmer killers
23 Mar 07 |  Americas
Pakistan coach Woolmer was killed
23 Mar 07 |  Americas
Call off World Cup, says Donald
23 Mar 07 |  Cricket
Pakistan look for new leaders
22 Mar 07 |  Pakistan
Cricket mourns death of Woolmer
19 Mar 07 |  Cricket


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