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Last Updated:  Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 12:39 GMT

World Cup technical committee statement
The World Cup event technical committee's response to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) request to have the game against Zimbabwe moved to South Africa.

The ETC has carefully considered the evidence and the submissions.

It has unanimously decided that the concerns raised relating to new evidence regarding safety and security are not justified.

That is to say that those concerns cannot be regarded as legitimate within the meaning of Clause 21.10.2 of the Playing Conditions.

Accordingly, the committee has unanimously declined the ECB application.

Before providing the committee's reason for its decision, the committee notes that ECB's decision not to play in Zimbabwe was made on the 9 February 2003 but not communicated to the ICC until 11 February 2003.

The reasons for this determination are briefly the following:

  • The ETC accepts that the England players entertained genuine concerns regarding their safety if the scheduled fixture was played in Zimbabwe as arranged.

  • This genuine concern is not determinative of the matter.

  • In this regard we disagree with submissions by the ECB.

    In our view the crucial question is whether the concern is legitimate taking into account all the circumstances and particularly in regard to the evidence and information supplied by those police officers and security professionals whose duty it is to organise and enforce measures to ensure the safety of players and officials.

    A full opportunity was given to the parties to consider and to test the evidence and the reasons given to the Committee by both Deputy Commissioner Pruis of the South African Police Services and Senior Assistant Commissioner Zengeni of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

    The effect of their evidence, which we accept, is that the entity calling itself "Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe" did not constitute any credible threat to the safety and security of players and officials and that there was no reason to suppose that the security precautions in force would not have been adequate to ensure the safety of all match participants.

    We also note that the ECB did not produce any evidence which ran counter to the analysis and the evidence of the respective Police Commissioners despite having more than adequate time to make their own investigations nor was there any information supplied either by Scotland Yard or any other police force which contradicted the evidence and analysis given to us by the witnesses.

    In that regard the Committee also received evidence which confirmed that on the basis of the information available to Scotland Yard as at 10 February 2003, the Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe did not pose a threat to the families of the England squad in the UK.

    In reaching our conclusions we gave serious consideration to the arguments and submissions of the ECB regarding alleged discrepancies in the evidence and in the documents placed before us by the witnesses.

    We are satisfied however, that the criticisms of the ECB are not well made and we record that we were favourably impressed by the witnesses and we have accepted their explanations.

    Our finding requires us to hold as a matter of course, that the England team in refusing to play is deemed to have lost the match against Zimbabwe and match points must be allocated to Zimbabwe accordingly.

    Links to more England stories


    BBC Five Live's Jonathan Agnew
    "The ECB will face a compensation claim"

    ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed
    "There was no credible threat to players and officials"


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