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Page last updated at 19:20 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 20:20 UK

Champions Trophy fate in balance

Australian captain Ricky Ponting with the ICC Champions Trophy
Australia currently hold the ICC Champions Trophy

The fate of next month's ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan will be decided on Sunday after further talks.

England, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia have all expressed fears ahead of a tournament that is due to start on 12 September.

And they will take part in taskforce talks on Friday where changing the venue is likely to be discussed.

Haroon Lorgat, the International Cricket Council's chief executive, has previously ruled out a relocation.

But with the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) urging its players not to go to Pakistan, the new talks are expected to focus on a possible switch to Sri Lanka to ensure the leading nations take part.

Friday's teleconference will be held between ICC president David Morgan, Lorgat, ICC vice-president Sharad Pawar, representatives of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) and ESPN STAR Sports, the official broadcasters for the tournament.

The ICC has already attempted to placate the concerned national cricket boards by removing Rawalpindi from the itinerary - the scene of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December - and are staging the matches just in Lahore and Karachi.

But fears were not resolved, prompting Morgan, Pawar and Lorgat to meet again in Dubai on Wednesday and suggest further talks with a view to moving the tournament to a less hostile environment.

That meeting came a day after the ACA advised players not to make the trip

"The ACA has discussed the situation with its executive and our position is we can't recommend to our players they should tour Pakistan for the Champions Trophy," chief executive Paul Marsh was quoted as saying.

Lorgat has said that players can expect tight security in Pakistan.

"It is what our security advisors describe as a presidential level of security, what would be rolled out for any head of state," he said.

"As far as the ICC is concerned the safety and security is satisfactory."

Lorgat also played down the chances of switching the venue to Sri Lanka.

"I think the time has passed," he said.

"It is possible to postpone, to relocate or to add a ninth or 10th team but at this point in time we have no indication to the contrary.

"The tournament is going ahead, the teams have not withdrawn and we expect the best teams to participate."

see also
ICC satisfied with Trophy plans
19 Aug 08 |  Cricket
England discuss Champions Trophy
18 Aug 08 |  England
ICC aims to avert Trophy boycott
13 Aug 08 |  Cricket
Pakistan keeps Champions Trophy
24 Jul 08 |  Cricket
Champions Trophy gets all-clear
18 Jun 08 |  Cricket
England receive kind Trophy draw
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket
ICC Champions Trophy 2008
22 Mar 08 |  Cricket

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