Cricket News 15/02/03
Report By Shane Dell
The International Cricket Council has sent the Mugabe controlled Zimbabwe Cricket Union a slap in the face today, after refusing it’s recent request to charge Zimbabwean cricketer’s Andy Flower and Henry Olonga with bringing the game into disrepute.
During the recent Zimbabwe v Namibia World Cup match, both Flower and Olonga wore black arm bands to signify the “death of democracy in Zimbabwe.” Incurring the wrath of the ZCU and it’s patron Robert Mugabe, a complaint was made by the ZCU to the ICC with a request for the players to be charged with a Code of Conduct offence.
After reviewing the request, the ICC issued the following statement.
The ICC’s Technical Committee has considered the issue of the public statement issued by Zimbabwean Cricketers, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga and the wearing of black arm bands by the same players during the ICC Cricket World Cup match against Namibia.
The matter was referred to the ICC Technical Committee by the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), which suggested that the actions of the players brought the game into disrepute and sought to have it dealt with under the ICC’s Code of Conduct.
After considering the issue, the Technical Committee decided that it was not appropriate for a charge to be laid under the Code.
While strongly stating that the ICC’s position is that cricket should not be used as a vehicle through which to make political statements, the six member committee chaired by Malcolm Speed, did not find evidence to warrant a charge being laid against the pair.
“The ICC seeks at all times to avoid using cricket as a platform on which to advance political agendas and its very strong belief is that the players, officials and administrators within the game should refrain from doing the same. The Committee requested that the players stop wearing black arm bands to make political statements for the duration of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003,” said Mr Speed.
“There are enough people outside the sport seeking to achieve political ends through cricket for their own purposes, without the sport’s participants contributing to this matter.
“In the case of Mr Flower and Mr Olonga, the players have blurred the lines between political issues and the sporting arena.
“While this is a principle that the ICC does not wish to see violated, it is also the case that there is no sound basis for finding that their actions have brought the game into disrepute and there is no charge that could be sustained under the ICC Code of Conduct.”
In making its decision, the Technical Committee also recognized that the actions may impact on the contractual relationship between the ZCU and its players and noted that if any matter arose from this relationship it would be up to the ZCU and the players to resolve.
The stand taken against the Mugabe regime by both Olonga and Flower took great courage on the part of these individuals. Although they may never play cricket for Zimbabwe again, both men are heros in the eyes of the world and those fighting the muderous oppression of the Mugabe regime.