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Zimbabwe cricket boss queries ban

Zimbabwe Cricket
Zimbabwe cricket may be set for international isolation

Zimbabwe Cricket chief Ozias Bvute has questioned why the sport is imposing sanctions against his country when other major sports do not.

This week the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) cancelled Zimbabwe's tour of England next summer because of continued political unrest.

But Bvute has highlighted the lack of action by other major sports.

The issue will be discussed during the International Cricket Council (ICC) board meeting in Dubai this week.

The ECB's stance followed the decision of Cricket South Africa (CSA) - traditionally one of Zimbabwe's supporters in cricket - to sever its bilateral links on Tuesday in the wake of the country's deepening political and economic turmoil.

However, other countries, such as long-term Zimbabwe allies India, will take a greater deal of persuasion.

Seven out of 10 around the table at the ICC have to vote to expel Zimbabwe and one of those 10 is Zimbabwe itself.

It would be strange that the only sport to take action on so-called current worries is cricket when all the other world sporting bodies have not taken that stance

Zimbabwe Cricket chief Ozias Bvute

As long as Zimbabwe is a member of the ICC, the team cannot be stopped by the ECB from competing in the ICC World Twenty20 tournament, to be held in England next year after the planned Tests and one-day internationals.

But if England bar Zimbabwe from touring, the ICC could prevent England from hosting the tournament.

A letter was sent from Harare to all members of the ICC executive, reminding them that any move to impose sanctions would be for political rather than sporting reasons.

Only a year ago the ICC executive agreed that cricket boards could not be held responsible for social and political turmoil inside their borders.

Questioned on BBC's Test Match Special about his organisation's lobbying of support, Bvute said: "I don't think the word lobbying is correct, we have merely stated our position.

"We (Zimbabwe) are a full member of Fifa and are currently participating in a World Cup qualifying campaign, we have a swimming programme which has produced Kirsty Coventry, a recent winner in the world championships.

"So it would be strange that the only sport to take action on so-called current worries is cricket when all the other world sporting bodies have not taken that stance."

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"I cannot speculate on the outcome but we have obviously noted the actions of others," Bvute added, ahead of Wednesday's board discussions.

"Over the last few years there have been problems between England and Zimbabwe. This is not a new phenomena."

And Bvute was unequivocal in his desire for sports administrators to put aside the reports of violence and drastic deterioration of general life.

"I think at the end of the day that's a matter for the politicians to speak and decide on," he said. "We are not politicians and we are not qualified to speak on these issues."


see also
Country profile: Zimbabwe
23 Jun 08 |  Country profiles
Mihir Bose blog
25 Jun 08 |  Cricket
Zimbabwe tour timeline
23 Nov 04 |  Cricket
Hain slams Zimbabwe cricket tour
28 Nov 04 |  UK Politics
Call for ban on Zimbabwe cricket
22 Aug 05 |  UK Politics
England cleared to tour Zimbabwe
27 Oct 04 |  England
Q&A: England's Zimbabwe tour
24 Jan 04 |  Cricket
Should England be hosting Zimbabwe?
02 May 03 |  Have Your Say
Countries urged to play Zimbabwe
19 Jan 06 |  Zimbabwe


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