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England will not appeal
Marcus Prior |
February 15, 2003 16:35 IST
The England and Wales Cricket Board has decided not to appeal against the International Cricket Council's decision to reject their plea to reschedule the Group A match against Zimbabwe from Harare to South Africa.
"After careful consideration the ECB has decided not to appeal," ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said.
"We have done everything in our power to persuade the ICC of the merits of our case. The issue has gone on long enough and it's time to move on in the interests of the cricket World Cup."
Lamb described the weeks of wrangling over the match scheduled for February 13 in Harare as a "protracted and unfortunate episode", but suggested that the English ruling body could still resort to legal action.
"The ECB does not agree with the decision of the technical committee and have been advised by our lawyers that the decision is legally incorrect," Lamb said.
England may face calls for millions of dollars in compensation from sponsors for refusing to play in Harare.
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told a news conference: "It's a decision that gives the committee no pleasure."
"I don't expect a quick resolution, not before May or June, and certainly not before the end of the World Cup," Speed said.
"If they (the ECB) wanted to bring it to a civil court they could do but that it is not something that concerns us."
The England team has yet to play a game in the tournament, spending more time discussing whether to play in Zimbabwe than training.
Many of their rivals have already played twice. England open their campaign against the Netherlands in East London on Sunday.
The loss of the four points, from a game England expected to win, means the team face a huge task to reach the second round of the tournament.
They will have to beat at least two of defending champions Australia, 1999 finalists Pakistan and 1983 winners India to have any chance of qualifying.
This was England's second attempt to have the game moved.
The same committee threw out England's first request, a decision ratified by an ICC-appointed judge, last week in a supposedly binding decision.
Former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding, a member of the six-man technical committee, told the news conference: "I can understand their (the England players') feelings because I have been through it too.
"I had to look at what the security professionals brought forward."
Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) chairman Peter Chingoka said: "We are delighted. This puts the matter to rest and we can now focus on the tournament."
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