Thursday, April 19, 2012

BCB boss under FICA fire

The Federation of International Cricketers Association has lambasted Bangladesh's decision to tour Pakistan "chaotic and contradictory", saying players' safety should not be put at risk to "enhance someone's political or other aspirations".

Bangladesh would be the first Test-playing team to tour Pakistan to play a one-day international and a Twenty20 match in the last week of this month in Lahore where Sri Lankan Test cricketers had come under a terror attack in 2009.

The High Court on Thursday halted for four weeks the planned tour and asked the government and the board to justify the tour decision.

"As the peak body of player associations, of which the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) is a full member, FICA considers the matter of player safety as paramount in the consideration of whether any Event or series should proceed," FICA CEO Tim May was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI).

Pointing the finger at Bangladesh Cricket Board chief A H M Mustafa Kamal, May said, "This decision of whether Bangladesh should tour Pakistan needed to be a concise and transparent process. Unfortunately all we have witnessed is seemingly a complete lack of any process and a series of indecisive and contradictory comments, particularly coming from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) president Mustafa Kamal."

"The actions and words of Mr Kamal certainly give the impression of confirming rumors that there has been a deal reached between Pakistan Cricket Board and Mr Kamal, that PCB will nominate Mr Kamal for the position of ICC Vice President if Bangladesh agrees to tour Pakistan."

Kamal, following the March security delegation visit to Pakistan, confirmed that Bangladesh would send a team there. However, on his return to Bangladesh, Kamal retracted and was reported to have stated that it would only send a team to tour Pakistan, if the ICC would send neutral umpires.

PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf retaliated that "the PCB will review its relation with Bangladesh if they refuse to tour Pakistan."

Following the PCB comment, Kamal reportedly told the ICC Executive Board that even if there were no neutral umpires, Bangladesh would tour Pakistan.

"What has resulted since has been a series of actions and comments that rather than reassure everyone of the safety of such a tour, only have created heightened apprehensions and doubts among players re the safety of the tour and the motives of those involved in the decision," May said.

"The constantly changing positions from Mr Kamal about whether to send a team or not if the ICC decides not to send neutral umpires is hardly a sign of confidence that the BCB actually does believe that it is safe to tour," he added.

"The players' safety, and the safety of the people around them, should be all that matters in this issue and the only factor taken into account when deciding whether to tour or not. Players' safety should not be put at risk to enhance someone's political or other aspirations."

May said Kamal should stay out of the decision-making in this case and BCB decide the matter.

"The BCB president has a massive conflict of interest. The matter should not be decided by Mr Kamal alone, it should be a decision of the entire BCB board, after all the directors of the Board will be exposed to a significant potential liability if issues arise during the tour," said May, a former Australian Test cricketer.

"One would expect that a person who holds the responsibility of the BCB president and also of an ICC director would address the conflict of interest and remove himself from any decision in this matter," PTI further quoted May as saying.