THE ICC have firmly rejected the legal claims initiated last week by the Pakistan Cricket Board concerning the removal of Pakistan as one of the hosts of the World Cup on the subcontinent in 2011. The whole action was beginning to look like some lawyers hoping for opportunist fees.
The ICC emphasised that their Board had not decided to remove the PCB as a joint host of the event. They wanted matches that had been assigned to the PCB to be played outside Pakistan for security reasons.
ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: "We are naturally disappointed that the PCB has chosen to pursue its grievance with the ICC through legal channels."
Pakistan, as a venue, was removed from the schedule after the murderous terrorist ambush on the Sri Lanka cricket team and match officials while they travelled to a Test match in Lahore on March 3. Thilan Samaraweera, one of seven Sri Lanka players injured, was shot in the leg and spent two weeks in hospital.
Lorgat, in diplomatic terms, sounded the equivalent of livid when he said: "We hope that the PCB will reflect on this matter, withdraw their spurious claims and, as a responsible Full Member, engage with us in an appropriate manner." He added that the ICC also hoped the PCB realised that by attempting to pursue the matter through legal channels, their action would result in a "diversion of funds and resources better served to ensure a safe, secure and successful tournament in 2011, something that will benefit all our Members, including Pakistan."
Lorgat said: "We used our response to clarify inaccuracies and misunderstandings in the PCB’s claim, including confirmation of the fact that the agenda and the Board papers for the recent ICC Board meetings did very specifically raise the question of whether the ICC CWC 2011 matches assigned to the PCB as joint hosts should be relocated outside of Pakistan."
He added that the ICC pointed out that the ICC Board agreed only that ICC CWC 2011 matches should be moved away from Pakistan, not that the PCB should be removed from their position as a joint host of the event itself.
"The suggestion the ICC Board was not empowered to decide that matches should be moved away from Pakistan and that such a decision was ‘legally flawed’ is also incorrect and without foundation. The ICC Board is the policy-making body for international cricket and has broad powers under its constitution."
Lorgat said that not only was the ICC entitled to make a decision on this matter but they had a responsibility to do so on behalf of all members, something the Board was reminded of at the meeting by Lord Condon, one of the independent expert advisors on security matters.
"The ICC Cricket World Cup is our flagship event. It generates the majority of ICC event income for our great sport and without that income many of those members would struggle to operate or grow the game in the way they are currently able to. Given that fact, we need to deliver a tournament that is safe, secure and, above all, successful and it was on that basis that the decision was taken that matches could not be played in Pakistan."