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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

England deny Zimbabwe boycott decision

February 10, 2003 22:25 IST

England on Monday denied they have refused to play their cricket World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) spokesman Andrew Walpole said the matter is still being discussed.

He was asked to respond after an International Cricket Council document released on Monday said England had given 'formal notice' that they would not play Thursday's fixture.

The document, dated February 10 and signed by ICC president Malcolm Gray, was handed out to reporters at a press conference organised by the world governing body in Cape Town.

It said that the commercial arm of the ICC "notes that you (the ECB) are giving us formal notice that you are unable to fulfil the scheduled fixture in Harare on Thursday".

Walpole, however, told reporters: "We have not said that we are refusing to go to Zimbabwe. We asked the ICC to move the match to a safe location outside Zimbabwe on the grounds of safety and security."

The ICC document was not discussed at the news conference, nor was England's decision not to play announced. The clause referring to the ECB's formal notice only came to light later when scrutinised by reporters.

England's players have voiced concerns about the social and political unrest in Zimbabwe.

They have carried out a string of meetings with security experts and ECB officials since Friday, when England's official request to move the game to South Africa was finally rejected by tournament organisers.

The players have also been upset by a letter containing death threats, although it has been dismissed as a hoax by South African police and intelligence services.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.


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