The ICC’s annual meetings at Lord’s cricket ground concluded on Thursday with the ICC Annual Conference.

Over the course of meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, the ICC Board considered the following issues:

– International cricket in Zimbabwe
– Location of the ICC headquarters
– Status of Asia Cup matches
– New members of the ICC
– New ICC Vice-President

International cricket in Zimbabwe

The ICC Board endorsed the recommendation of the earlier sub-committee meeting in Dubai in relation to the immediate playing future of the Zimbabwe team as follows:

– the Test matches scheduled to be played by Zimbabwe against Pakistan and England before the end of the year to be deferred to a date yet to be determined.

– Zimbabwe to continue to play the One-Day International matches scheduled under the Future Tours Program (FTP) including those scheduled against England and Pakistan in October and November and the ICC Champions Trophy in England this September.

– India and South Africa to undertake ‘A’ team tours of Zimbabwe during July and August to facilitate more first-class cricket exposure for the Zimbabwean team.

– Zimbabwe to continue its FTP Test match commitments from January 2005 when it plays against Bangladesh.

ICC President Ehsan Mani explained the rationale behind the ICC Board’s decision.

‘The ICC’s focus is, and will continue to be, the international implications of this issue,’ said Mr Mani.

‘I am pleased that the ICC Board has accepted the recommendations of the sub-committee in relation to Zimbabwe’s playing future.

‘The Board has acted to protect the integrity of Test cricket and Zimbabwe will not play this version of the game for the remainder of 2004.

‘The team will continue to play One-Day International cricket which is an important pathway in providing players with the skills and exposure to perform at the international level.

‘By providing the opportunity for Zimbabwe to continue at this level, the ICC is ensuring that cricket in Zimbabwe is given every opportunity to survive.’

The ICC Board also discussed the dispute between the ZCU and its players.

‘The ICC has now provided the ZCU and the players with 14 days within which to agree a process to resolve their dispute,’ added Mr Mani.

‘We recognise that this is a Zimbabwean dispute and our clear preference is to have it resolved in Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans.

‘If there is no agreement on the process, the newly elected ICC Vice-President, Percy Sonn and I will make a final decision on application of the ICC’s Disputes Resolution Process after this 14-day period.

‘The ZCU is firmly of the view that this system has no jurisdiction but the ICC’s legal advice is clear in saying that it does.’

The third element of this particular issue relates to allegations of racism.

‘It has been agreed that an eminent person or persons will investigate the allegations of racism,’ explained Mr Mani.

‘Several candidates for this role have been identified. The ICC will now approach these candidates and an announcement will follow in due course.’

Location of the ICC headquarters

A decision on the future location of the ICC headquarters has been deferred because of a late submission by the UK government in relation to arrangements concerning the ICC’s operations in England that was received on the eve of the meeting.

ICC President Ehsan Mani explained that new information has necessitated the deferment of the decision to move from split locations in London and Monaco to one central headquarters.

‘Proposals from the UK, Dubai and Malaysia were under consideration at the ICC Board meeting,’ said Mr Mani.

‘The financial benefits to our members varied between the three options but a submission from UK Sport on the eve of the meeting raised a number of issues that now require further analysis.

‘To accurately assess this information the ICC Board opted to defer the decision on the future location of the ICC headquarters to its October meeting.’

Status of Asia Cup matches

The ICC Board determined that all matches at this year’s Asia Cup – including those between Associate Members – will have One-Day International status.

New members of the ICC

The applications of three new countries were approved for membership at the ICC Annual Conference in the Long Room at Lord’s on Thursday morning.

China, Mexico and the Isle of Man become the ICC’s newest members, taking total membership of the ICC to 92 countries.

All three will have Affiliate Member status so that the ICC now has 10 Full Members, 27 Associate Members and 55 Affiliate Members.

New ICC Vice-President

At the same ICC Annual Conference, Percy Sonn was elected to the position of ICC Vice-President. Mr Sonn was nominated by South Africa, whose turn it was to select a candidate for the position.

The former President of the United Cricket Board of South Africa will now serve a one-year term as ICC Vice-President before taking over from ICC President Ehsan Mani at next year’s Annual Conference.

The final meeting of the week is the ICC Development (International) Ltd Board meeting which begins in Monaco on Friday. The commercial arm of the ICC will discuss issues relating to the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC Super Series. Announcements on both topics will be made on Monday 5 July.

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