Terrorism rocks events world

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Pakistan's role as a co–host of the 2011 Cricket World Cup hangs in the balance after the International Cricket Council (ICC) said the country was unlikely to stage internationals in the near future following a terrorist attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team

Following the attacks on 3 March 2009, the ICC's chief executive Haroon Lorgat told a news conference at Lord's Cricket ground in London, England, that the governing body would review whether Pakistan could co–host the 2011 Cricket World Cup at its next board meeting in April 2009. The 2001 crown jewel cricket event is due to be hosted by Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with Pakistan itself scheduled to host 14 matches. " It will be challenging for us to be convinced that Pakistan will be a safe venue, " Lorgat told reporters. The Sri Lankan cricket team attack occurred as a convoy carrying Sri Lankan cricketers in a bus was fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test against the Pakistani cricket team. Six members of the Sri Lankan cricket team were injured. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed. These were the first attacks on a national sports team since the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes by Islamic militants in 1972. Lorgat said the attack would change the way the cricketing world viewed security. "This is the first time a cricket team has been targeted in this way and it has changed the landscape of how cricket boards will assess security for cricket series and events, " he said. He added that the matter would be discussed as a matter of priority at ICC Board level, a body that is made up of directors from each of the 10 Full Members of the ICC and three Associate representatives. Lorgat added: "At this stage, Pakistan is scheduled to supply venues for the 2011 Cricket World Cup and only the ICC Board can change that decision. I do not want to speculate on what that decision might be or make a knee–jerk reaction but certainly this attack will have to be taken into consideration when assessing the security situation for that event. Even if Pakistan is considered unsafe, cricket in that country must not be allowed to suffer unduly because of this. It is better that Pakistan plays its home fixtures at neutral venues rather than not at all. " In relation specifically to ICC events scheduled to take place in other parts of the world, the ICC conducts extensive safety and security assessments for venues of all its events. "Whilst the ICC can never give a 100% guarantee, we have confidence in the independent security experts we have advising us and that appropriate and effective security measures are in place for all ICC events, " added Lorgat. Almost all of the world's top cricket nations have already refused to tour Pakistan because of fears about the safety of their players. Australia have not toured Pakistan since 1998 and were joined by England, New Zealand and South Africa in boycotting last year's Champions Trophy in Pakistan. The ICC agreed to move the tournament to Sri Lanka, but are already having second thoughts because it is during the monsoon season. India's cricket team was supposed to be touring Pakistan now but pulled out in the wake of recent militant attacks in Mumbai. Only Sri Lanka agreed to take the team's place. India and Sri Lanka, co–hosts for the 2011 World Cup, have not been immune to attacks on their own soil but the Lahore incident will surely heighten concerns about staging any sports (or indeed cultural) events in the region. Hockey's Champions Trophy has already been moved away from Pakistan and tennis officials ordered increased security at this year's Chennai Open. Meanwhile, security arrangements for the 2010 New Delhi Commonwealth Games, to be hosted in neighbouring India, are certain to be re–examined and beefed up. The organisers of the event have moved to calm fears over security after investing $15m to enhance security in the wake of the Lahore attack. " The money has been sanctioned for the Delhi Police to procure additional security equipment like X–ray scanners, metal detectors and communication equipment, specifically for the Commonwealth Games 2010, " a home ministry official said. Additionally, the Union Home Minister of India, P Chidambaram, has said that the Indian Premier League (IPL) should consider postponing the forthcoming Twenty/20 league matches due to be held over 45 days from 10 April to 24 May, in nine Indian cities, since in the light of these attacks, security forces would be stretched too thin between the league matches and the five phases of the forthcoming general elections in India. Former England coach Duncan Fletcher said that English players contracted to the IPL would now be more concerned for their safety. England player Kevin Pietersen has already hinted that he may withdraw from the upcoming season, given the fragile security situation across the subcontinent.

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