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ICC and ZCU commit to on-going discussion over player dispute

The International Cricket Council and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union have committed to on-going discussions over the current dispute between the ZCU and its players, including any ways in which the ICC might be able to directly assist the ZCU to resolve

The International Cricket Council and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union have committed to on-going discussions over the current dispute between the ZCU and its players, including any ways in which the ICC might be able to directly assist the ZCU to resolve this dispute in the future it was announced today.

The commitment to further discussions came after meetings over the last two days between ICC President, Ehsan Mani, and Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed, and ZCU Chairman, Peter Chingoka, and Board member Ozias Bvute.

ICC President, Ehsan Mani, said that meetings had provided the ICC with a better understanding of the issues within Zimbabwean cricket and had given the ICC the opportunity to emphasise the international implications of the current dispute.

"The ICC recognises and respects the sovereignty of its members in dealing with often difficult disputes with stakeholders in the game, including players. It is recognised that issues such as the appointment of captains and the composition of selection committees are matters that fall solely within the jurisdiction of the member board.

"At the same time, the ICC recognises and has discussed with the ZCU the international implications of this dispute and its potential effect on international cricket.

"International cricket is built upon the best teams from each country taking part. It is one of the ICC's responsibilities to ensure that everything possible is done to protect the integrity of the sport and we have had the opportunity to discuss this aspect of the current dispute with the ZCU.

"The commitment to on-going discussions will provide the ICC with the ability to ensure that the international interests are protected throughout this dispute.

Mr Mani also said that he had addressed directly the claims of racial bias and political interference leveled against the ZCU.

"Over the past two days, the Zimbabwe Cricket Union has provided the ICC with a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved in the current dispute and provided assurances and supporting evidence that the dispute is not about race or politics as it has sometimes simplistically been portrayed.

"The ZCU has invested heavily in players from all backgrounds in Zimbabwe and representative teams below the international level reflect this investment with players from all races represented in the sport. The Board itself is multi-racial and is committed to promoting the game as a multi-racial sport."

"The ZCU has also briefed us on its integration process that begun in 2001 and its goal of ensuring that Zimbabwean cricket becomes more inclusive and is able to deal with the cricketing aspirations of all sections of the community.

"The reality is that the issues involved in this dispute are very complex and simplistic portrayals of them do little to identify solutions.

"Having said this, it is also clear that there are very difficult real and perceived issues to be confronted. The depth of feeling expressed by the rebel players in particular over concerns relating to selection issues highlights the challenges that must be overcome in order to resolve this matter.

"Over the coming weeks, through the agreed process of discussions, the ICC will be able to monitor this issue and protect the interests of the game while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of the ZCU in dealing with the specifics of the dispute.

Brendan McClements

General Manager - Corporate Affairs

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