Loss on Zimbabwe vote can prove costly to English cricket board

July 2nd, 2008 - 4:13 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 2 (IANS) The English cricket board (ECB) faces a staggering $20 million loss next year if the International Cricket Council (ICC) decides to retain Zimbabwe’s one-day status in its Chief Executives’ Meeting Wednesday. The British government has made it clear it does not want the Zimbabwe cricket team in England, making it virtually impossible for ECB to host the Twenty20 World Cup.

The ICC would then be forced to relocate World Twenty20, and estimates suggest this would cost ECB around $20 million. Tickets went on sale Monday and have already grossed $5 million, so there will be a lot of disappointed cricket fans next June if events turn against the ECB.

ICC in its chief executives’ meeting will decide whether to suspend Zimbabwe from its membership or retain it as full member.

According to Daily Telegraph, the ECB are preparing for a compromise. The preferred alternative is for Zimbabwe to be suspended from the ICC, which would mean they could no longer vote on international issues and would have their funding cut, but would be able to return in the future.

The worst option would be for Zimbabwe to lose their one-day status but remain at cricket’s top table, enjoying its financial patronage and voting on international issues.

Zimbabwe vociferously defended its right to remain in the ICC Tuesday night, and was hopeful of support from India, its one remaining powerful ally. The Indian board has said it will not back Zimbabwe’s expulsion unless told to do so by its own government.

England will need the support of six other member countries for any motion to be passed.

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