» Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Asked if any Government representative was due to meet the England Cricket Board (ECB), the PMOS said that the Foreign Office and the DCMS had been having regular and constructive meetings with the ECB. Those talks would continue. We understood the difficult position in which the ECB found themselves regarding the tour. However, the Government did not possess any legal powers to stop it going ahead. It was a decision for the ECB to make. Jack Straw had written to them on 22 January and had said, “I draw your attention to the appalling human rights situation in Zimbabwe and the resulting isolation of that country’s government by the international community. The situation in Zimbabwe is bleak and is deteriorating”. He had also written that it was the Government’s view that the overall situation there was worse today than it had been during the cricket World Cup. He had also underlined that “the decision whether or not to tour, must be one for you and your colleagues in the England and Wales Cricket Board to make”. That remained the Government’s position.

In answer to further questions, the PMOS said that the Government had given its advice, but had underlined consistently that it was up to the ECB to make the decision. Richard Caborn had answered a PQ last week in which he had stated specifically that the Government did not support the tour to Zimbabwe because of the deteriorating humanitarian situation there and our concerns about the regime. He had made clear, however, that it was ultimately up to the cricketing authorities to make the final decision. Put to him that the ECB appeared to be asking the Government to order them not to go and yet the Government was refusing to do so, the PMOS said that we would continue to talk with the ECB. They had said that they were reflecting on what had been said and that they might make a final decision in April. He repeated that the Government did not have the legal powers to ban the ECB from going to Zimbabwe. However, we had stated consistently that we did not support the tour. Put to him that Tim Lamb, the head of the ECB, had said that he wanted to hear stronger language from the Government about this issue, the PMOS said that our position on this matter was clear and on the record. We would continue to talk to the cricketing authorities, as we had been doing for some months. He drew journalists’ attention again to Jack Straw’s letter to the ECB on 22 January and Written Answers from Richard Caborn and Chris Mullin on this issue.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news


  1. It’s just not cricket, if you ask me…

    Comment by Zippy — 12 Mar 2004 on 1:20 pm | Link
  2. Dan Fray
    5 vincent Road
    Northcote Point
    New Zealand

    I am very curious as to why the NZ govt thinks it has any right to intervine with human rights issues with the tour. The NZ govt has been backing human rights abuses in sport here in New Zealand for the last 5 months. As Chairman of the North Harbour Ice Hockey Leagu, we have been contacting all govt agenices regarding our human rights as an officially recognised sporting body being abused by our NZ Federation and another Auckland Assoc in our sport. Our basic rights here in NZ are ignored by the highest athourity here.

    We have been passed back and forth with absoutely no one appointed to oversee constitutitonal rules being observed. Further more we have only recieved abuse from the parties involved and STILL, no govt bodies have taken any action. Our rights still do not exsist!!!

    Do’nt you think that NZ should clean out its own closet before it starts telling others how to arrange theirs???? I may not agree with actions in other countries, but I am disgusted to think that NZ has any moral standing to enforce on others what it cant provide here in NZ.

    If you require a list of those contacted and thier feble replys please feel free to contact me.

    Comment by Dan Fray — 14 Jul 2005 on 8:35 am | Link

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