Accessibility links

Breaking News

England's Cricket Team Wants World Cup Match With Zimbabwe Moved - 2003-01-27

England's cricket players are urging that their World Cup match with Zimbabwe be moved to South Africa. The players said they are worried about the security situation and the potential for political violence.

The managing director of the English Professional Cricketers' Association, Richard Bevan, told a London news conference the players are urgently requesting that their February 13 match be moved out of Zimbabwe.

"The players are keen to support their board and to come to a satisfactory resolution, but they want to urge all parties to move the fixture to South Africa and to pay the Zimbabwe cricket union appropriate compensation," Mr. Bevan said.

England team captain Nasser Hussain and other players said they have gotten warnings that violent protests are planned, and riots could erupt if they play in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Bevan said the players have a number of concerns stemming from the crisis over the policies of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. "We are greatly concerned about the political, moral and safety issues that the fixture in Zimbabwe has raised. We strongly feel a fresh review should take place immediately," he said.

Mr. Bevan said the consequences could be severe for all concerned if the match is held as scheduled.

He also criticized the British government for not being decisive enough in dealing with the situation. Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he wishes English cricketers would not go to Zimbabwe, but he says the government has no power to intervene.

The International Cricket Council, which is the governing body of the sport, and the England and Wales Cricket Board, which employs the English players, have said conditions are safe enough to play the match in Zimbabwe.

But the situation will be reviewed again this week, and ICC officials said a decision to move the match could be made as late as February ninth if the security situation deteriorates.