Australia may boycott Champions Trophy

July 26th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, July 26 (IANS) Australia appear to have made up their mind to pull out of the Champions Trophy after International Cricket Council (ICC) deemed Pakistan safe to hold the tournament in September. A Cricket Australia (CA) source confirmed that Australia would boycott the tournament, while CA chief executive James Sutherland said he had hoped for an alternate venue.

“In some ways it would have been easier if the ICC had decided to move the event,” he said.

“Certainly it would have satisfied us, it would appear it would have satisfied the players, and I think it would have satisfied commercial partners.”

The path has been cleared for an Australian boycott with confirmation that any team refusing to tour Pakistan will not be penalised. CA though had been alerted that it can face a $10 million fine if it refused to send its players to the tournament.

ICC’s chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, said no player opting to pull out would be penalised, nor would their respective boards, while Sutherland says the usual fines for pulling out of a series will not apply.

For Australia, there is also safety in numbers, with England and New Zealand set to refuse to send their teams to the event.

The move is likely to bring CA at clash with Asian nations — India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — who voted against shifting of the event.

The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) insists security risks are too great in the bomb-ravaged republic and has advised players not to go.

“The situation in Pakistan is no better now than it was in April (when Australia pulled out of a Test tour there),” ACA chief Paul Marsh said.

“Based on the independent information and advice received, we maintain that the risks are simply too great for the ACA to recommend that our players tour Pakistan at this time.”

The New Zealand Cricket (NZC) board too said it was “very disappointed” with the decision not to shift the tournament.

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