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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 18:25 GMT
Zimbabwe make boycott threat
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) has thrown World Cup preparations into further disarray by saying it will not play pool matches in South Africa if teams refuse to play in Harare and Bulawayo.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) could make a ruling on Thursday allowing England to pull out of their match in Harare.

Australia have similar reservations of playing in Bulawayo.

Now, the ZCU has thrown yet another spanner in the works.

Its chairman Peter Chingoka said: "Certainly we will not be playing any of our six group matches outside the country."

"We will only go to South Africa for the Super Six stage, and if there is to be any other directive then we will use every channel until justice prevails.

Peter Chinogka
Chingoka's stance puts more pressure on the ICC

"Zimbabwe was given the rights to host six group matches, and all the teams must honour contractual obligations of the tournament by fulfilling those matches.

"We have steered away from political and moral issues to stick to the issue of safety and security for the players and officials.

"There have been security delegations from the ICC, who have expressed satisfaction at our security modalities for the World Cup."

Chingoka added there had been no fresh evidence that the security situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated since the last security visits.

But that argument was countered by Roy Bennett of Zimbabwe's Movement of Democratic Change.

Fear of deaths

He told BBC Radio Five Live that "people opposed to president Robert Mugabe would be killed" if cricket was staged in Harare and Bulawayo.

At Cape Town on Thursday afternoon, the ICC's technical committee will meet to decide whether to uphold England's request to move their Zimbabwe fixture.

Should the England submission be knocked back, they will have three hours to lodge an appeal, which they almost certainly will.

By the same token, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union is entitled to challenge any decision to shift the contest.

Links to more Zimbabwe stories



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