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Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 14:34 UK

Champions Trophy gets all-clear

The ICC's Ray Mali
Ray Mali says he sees "no reason" for the tournament not to go ahead

A delegation from world cricket's governing body the ICC says Pakistan should be able to successfully host the Champions Trophy later this year.

It is due to start on 11 September but there have been suggestions it will be moved because of security concerns.

Australia and New Zealand have both voiced fears over security.

But the ICC's Ray Mali said Pakistan has a "safe and secure atmosphere", adding: "At the moment, we see no reason for teams not to play here".

The ICC's executive committee is due to meet in Dubai later this month to discuss the matter, with a final decision scheduled to be taken on 29 June.

Sri Lanka has been put on stand-by to host the tournament but Mali does not expect the venue to change.

Fica is very concerned about the inherent risks of holding such an event in Pakistan

Players' chief Tim May

"The Asia Cup is to be held here later this month and the successful conduct of the tournament will go a long way in quelling security fears," he said in Rawalpindi.

ICC director of event management Ahmed Farooq said: "The government of Pakistan has taken comprehensive measures to ensure foolproof security.

"They have constituted high-powered committees to oversee the arrangements."

Despite the reassurances Tim May, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (Fica), does not believe anything has changed in the three months since Australia postponed their tour of Pakistan.

"Fica is very concerned about the inherent risks of holding such an event in Pakistan in such a landscape of unrest and volatility and opposition to western countries," May said.

"Fica is not alone in its concern regarding holding this event in Pakistan, compounded by the timing of the event in terms of the religious celebration of Ramadan and the anniversary of the 11 September attacks in New York."

May said Fica would conduct its own review of the security arrangements and he expects that process to be completed in a couple of weeks.

Eight teams - Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England and the West Indies - will participate in the Champions Trophy.

It will be the first major competition in Pakistan since a four-nation tournament in 1997 and the World Cup the year before.

Security in Pakistan has been a matter of concern following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December.


see also
Benazir Bhutto killed in attack
27 Dec 07 |  South Asia
Australia postpone Pakistan tour
11 Mar 08 |  Cricket
England receive kind Trophy draw
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2008
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket
England seventh seeds for Trophy
01 Mar 08 |  England
Aussies cruise to Trophy triumph
05 Nov 06 |  Cricket
Elated Windies return home
28 Sep 04 |  International Teams
Here comes the rain again
30 Sep 02 |  ICC Champions Trophy


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