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15-Jun-2009 21:53:00 GMT
ICC World Cup, 2011

Pakistan Could Host World Cup Matches in UAE

London: World cricket chiefs are working out a middle path to resolve the controversy over Pakistan's right to remain co-hosts of the 2011 World Cup in the sub-continent.

A The ICC will consider allowing Pakistan to "outsource" its allocation of 2011 World Cup matches to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, according to David Morgan, the ICC chairman. Delegates from the ICC and the four host nations held a four-hour meeting at Lord's on Monday to discuss the issues arising from the March 3 terror attack outside the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore, and their impact on Pakistan's ability to host World Cup matches.

The ICC confirmed Pakistan would not host matches at the 2011 tournament, but the PCB could remain on the tournament organising committee if its matches are relocated to United Arab Emirates. Alternatively, Pakistan's original allocation of matches could be shared between the other host nations - India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Morgan said a final decision could be made in the next fortnight and the PCB has agreed to defer legal proceedings against the ICC while negotiations are taking place.

Pakistan had served legal notices on the ICC after being stripped of hosting rights in the wake of the militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore on March 3 and the deteriorating security situation in the volatile nation.

The ICC clarification was viewed as an attempt to diffuse the matter and open doors to a negotiated settlement that will be finalised on Monday.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has suspended legal action pending a decision on Monday, but appears to have reconciled to the fact that it won't host matches at home, given the reluctance of teams to play there.

The (PCB) has proposed shifting its share of 14 matches to the United Arab Emirates, where it organised a One-day series against Australia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in April-May.

The meeting on Monday where officials from all the four co-host nations will be present will debate the financial obligations of holding the matches in the UAE, the ICC spokesman said.

"I am certain a compromise will be worked out," he said. "The idea of having games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is certainly an option."

PCB chairman Ejaz Butt declined to comment ahead of the meeting, saying he had been advised by lawyers not to speak to the media till the issue was sorted out.

Morgan, the ICC president, was confident of reaching a resolution.

"I am grateful to everyone for agreeing to come together to work through the ongoing issues surrounding the hosting of matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011," Morgan said in a statement.

"I hope that, through discussion, we will be able to reach a resolution to this matter as soon as possible.

"It is a matter that is diverting resources and energy that could be spent elsewhere as, with less than two years to go before the event, we need to be conscious that time is passing.

"The sooner we reach that resolution, the sooner everyone can proceed with the business of concentrating our efforts on working towards a successful event in 2011," he said.

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