We won’t let CWC 2007 flop -- ICC boss By Adriel Richard
Guyana Chronicle
November 1, 2003

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) - With the full knowledge of the contractual obligations to their commercial partners, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will not allow the Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies to flop.

Ehsan Mani, president of the ICC, and Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the ICC, gave this assurance at a news conference yesterday after the ICC wrapped up a series of meetings on the island.

“The ICC CWC 2007 will be hosted in the West Indies, but this is a partnership between the ICC and the West Indies, so we are going to be involved in the whole process,” Mani told reporters at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion Hotel.

“If there are problems we will pick them up early. There will be regular consultations and the West Indies will not be left on their own to either sink or swim. We will minimise the chance of anything going wrong.”

Newspaper reports in Australia surfaced that Australia had a chance of hosting the CWC 2007 because of growing fears that the cricket infrastructure of the Caribbean might not measure up.

“There is a lot riding on the CWC 2007 for the ICC and the West Indies because it’s the biggest sporting event that has ever been run in that part of the world,” Speed said.

“It’s a huge sporting event that attracts huge spectator interest, television interest, and is followed by cricket lovers all over the world.

It is very important that it is run to the highest standards.”

Mani and Speed will meet the board of directors of both the CWC 2007 and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in Jamaica tomorrow and Monday to discuss a number of relevant issues and for the formal signing of the Hosting Agreement.

“What we will be doing in those meetings is setting some benchmarks that we will be reviewing from time to time and we will be asking the organising committee to report back from time to time and to make sure they achieve those benchmarks,” Speed remarked.

“The ICC held meetings over the last two days and the issue about whether the CWC 2007 should be relocated somewhere other than West Indies was not raised.”

Mani noted the islands bidding for the CWC 2007 would have to provide the infrastructure for the event and emphasised the returns on the investment will be enormous for the West Indies, so there was an incentive not to fail.

“The legacy that we will leave behind from the CWC 2007 will be huge,” he said.

“From the infrastructural developments to the financial resources for the WICB to sustain the game in the Caribbean…it will be a positive partnership and we will not allow for the negatives to take over.”

The two ICC officials also revealed that 16 teams, divided into four groups of four teams each, would contest the preliminary competition of the CWC2007.

Speed gave no indications about what the format would be for the play-off stages of the competition, only to say that the overall number of matches to be played at the CWC 2007 will be 42, down 12 from the CWC 2003.

He added that the ICC commercial partners for the CWC 2007, Global Cricket Corporation, asked that the format be reconsidered and for a schedule that has closer to 50 matches, up from 42 that the present system has.