Mike Procter, the ICC match referee who is in Pakistan for the ongoing Asia Cup, has said that he is satisfied with the security situation in the country and that it should not be an impediment to hosting the Champions Trophy in September.
"I see no reason why Pakistan should not host the Champions Trophy. I find Pakistan a safe place and have been here twice this year," Procter told AFP in Lahore. "This is my personal opinion ... I was here in March [for the five-match series featuring Bangladesh] and I'm here now, and I found the security arrangements to be fantastic.
"The foreign umpires who have been with me during the Asia Cup also felt very safe and I would love to come to Pakistan for future events whenever I get appointments."
Proctor, who was in Pakistan in 2002 when a suicide bombing outside the New Zealand team's hotel led to the postponement of the tour, said: "It was a different situation then. It was a suicide bomb blast ... even at that time, the security was the best. We are more conscious about it now as the situation around the world since 9/11 has become volatile."
Meanwhile, there are reports that the ICC is considering South Africa as an option to host the event in case it doesn't take place in Pakistan. "South Africa could hold the Champions Trophy in case Pakistan or Sri Lanka [the alternate venue] can't," an ICC source told AFP. "But it must be stressed that Pakistan remains our first choice and a lot of work has already been done to ensure the tournament is held there." The source also said that Johannesburg, Centurion and Potchefstroom will be hosting the Champions Trophy matches in case the tournament is shifted to South Africa.
The ICC board will meet on Sunday in Dubai, where they will analyse a security report before making a decision on the matter.