England players want Zimbabwe match moved - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

England players want Zimbabwe match moved

28/01/2003 05:27:27 AM Comments (0)

England's players want their World Cup match in Zimbabwe moved because of security and human rights concerns, a spokesman for the team said.

England have come under intense pressure from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to pull out of their tournament opener in the capital, Harare, on February 13 in protest at the human rights abuses of President Robert Mugabe.

"It is very important that no one in Zimbabwe or any individual comes to any harm because of a cricket match in Harare," said players' spokesman Richard Bevan at a press conference.

He added that the players wanted the game against Zimbabwe moved to main hosts South Africa where the bulk of the February 8 to March 23 tournament's 54 matches are taking place.

Over the weekend it emerged that England, who have just concluded their tour of Australia, received anonymous threats while in Sydney warning of potential violence if they went ahead with their game in Harare.

But both the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have repeatedly made it clear that the only reasons for pulling out of Zimbabwe would be on safety and security grounds.

Last week the ICC, following a teleconference meeting of its executive board, said the six World Cup matches due to be played in Zimbabwe were still going ahead.

That decision was reached following a report from ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed and World Cup tournament director Ali Bacher who both visited Zimbabwe early last week.

However ECB chairman David Morgan pressed the world governing body for a further report when the executive board reconvenes on Thursday.

But Morgan's decision to reveal the existence of the threatening letters was criticised by Bevan.

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