The ICC has decided not to stage the postponed 2009 Champions Trophy in Pakistan after several members expressed reservations about touring the troubled country on the second day of its board meeting in Perth. The location of the event, however, is yet to be finalised, but a decision is expected before the board's next scheduled meeting in April.
"It is unfortunate the ICC Champions Trophy will not take place in Pakistan due to circumstances completely beyond the control of the PCB," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said. "However, the board has accepted the need for certainty in planning for and delivering a world-class event and will now assess where the event should be held."
The tournament, originally scheduled for September 2008, had been postponed by a year after a number of participating countries raised concerns over touring Pakistan due to security concerns. Although Pakistan will not host the event, they will retain the revenue due for hosting the tournament, the ICC board decided.
The ICC also offered to form a task team to visit Pakistan and work with the PCB "to find ways to ensure that, wherever possible, international cricket is played in the country in the future". Pakistan has struggled to attract touring teams for a number of years owing to their concerns over its security. Two home series, against Australia and West Indies, were relocated in the aftermath of the 9/11 bombings in America in 2001, and Australia also postponed their full tour of Pakistan last year. India then pulled out of a tour starting in January this year in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist strikes, following which Sri Lanka agreed to a split tour.
Former Pakistan captain and commentator Ramiz Raja, however, was disappointed with the decision to shift the tournament. "I think Pakistan has done enough to tell the world that cricket is not targeted in the country," he told AFP. "While the PCB wanted to host the Champions Trophy, they insisted to host Australia on a neutral venue in April. That must have confused the decision-makers."
Managing security and terrorism intelligence has been high on the agenda for the ICC, and it was believed the attacks on Mumbai and the troubled security situation in Pakistan which led to the postponement of the Champions Trophy may have also prompted the ICC to consider extending the purview of the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).
The Champions Trophy is expected to rake in around US$40 million, most of which will be redeployed for the development of the game.