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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 04:02 GMT

England game called off
England stick together during training in Cape Town
The England team have received death threats over the game
England will not play their World Cup opener against Zimbabwe in Harare on Thursday.

But there is a chance the game could be relocated to South Africa later in the tournament.

The England and Wales Cricket Board decided to pull out of the fixture because of fears over player safety.

At the end of last week, it emerged the England team had received death threats from an organisation called the "Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe".

International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed told a press conference on Tuesday that England had pulled out of the match in Harare.

But he added that there were no guarantees the fixture would be relocated.

"The ECB has asked the ICC to consider relocating the match to a venue outside Zimbabwe at a later date," said Speed.

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"The process won't be something that will be resolved today.

"The ECB has asked the technical commitee to consider new evidence that has come to light since the appeal to Justice Sachs last week."

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has continually refused to have the game moved from Harare and on Tuesday, ZCU chief Peter Chingoka re-iterated that stance.

It is not yet known whether England will forfeit the points from the game or whether the ECB will be forced to pay compensation for their withdrawal.

But the ECB insisted money had never played a part in its decision.

Chief executive Tim Lamb added: "The ECB stance is, was and always has been that the safety and security of its players and officials is its primary concern.

"And the ECB feels the players would be in danger if compelled to play. Secondly the state of civil disorder in Zimbabwe dictates that the game should be relocated."

The ECB had originally asked for the game to be moved from Zimbabwe last week.

However, the ICC's technical committee rejected their pleas - and, despite an appeal to independent judge Albie Sachs, its decision stood.

That technical committee will now reconsider the matter.





Links to more England stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
ECB chief executive Tim Lamb
"No evidence the ICC provided has allayed our fears"


ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed
"The ICC is disappointed that the game will not go ahead"



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