Mumbai: Brushing aside concerns over a potential clash with the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Cricket Council on Tuesday said the sole point of difference was over the “whereabouts” clause of the WADA code to which it is a signatory.
“BCCI (Indian cricket board) is WADA-compliant. It’s just a question of agreeing on the finer details of the whereabouts clause,” said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat at a media conference to announce the launch of online sales of tickets for the 2011 World Cup to be held in the sub-continent.
He also brushed aside suggestions that WADA Director General David Howman had issued an ultimatum to the ICC and its member boards last month to fall in line with its code in its entirety by November.
“I’m not sure that’s what he said. In fact he was very complimentary about the progress cricket has made in terms of doping. He is very much with us in terms of putting something specific for cricket,” Lorgat said.
“Being a signatory, we expect the ICC and cricket to remain committed to the WADA code. The ICC has done a lot in the last three years, now they just need to give the final push,” Howman had told reporters in Delhi on May 24.
“The ICC is responsible for its member boards. ICC’s job is to ensure that member boards comply with the WADA code. We are going to have our next review in November 2011 and by that time if ICC fails to convince its member boards to comply with the Code, we will declare them non-compliant in our report to the International Olympic Committee,” Howman had said.
“We don’t have the purview to take actions against any non-complaint member, it is the IOC and respective Olympic Council’s prerogative,” the WADA official had said.
The controversial clause requires the cricketers in the common testing pool to furnish details of their whereabouts three months in advance to the anti-doping authorities.
Indian players have rejected the clause, saying it’s a violation of their fundamental right to privacy and poses a threat to their security.
“World over international and national federations are in total compliance with whereabouts clause. 13,000 athletes are part of this clause. We have time to time reviewed this clause and will continue to do so. There is no need to fear,” Howman had stated.
BCCI CAO and World Cup Tournament Director Ratnakar Shetty also said that the way out is a cricket-specific whereabouts clause as pointed out by Lorgat.
“We need a practical solution. We need a cricket specific whereabouts clause as Mr Lorgat said. The ICC’s Executive Board is seized of the matter and is in the process of putting up a plan for WADA,” he said.
Lorgat said that security would be of top priority during the World Cup to be held from February 19-April 2, 2011 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“We will put up a master security plan to ensure safety and security of all,” he said.
The World Cup Central Organising Committee’s chairman and ICC’s president-elect Sharad Pawar purchased the first of the 100000 tickets available for all matches online from Tuesday by logging on to iccevents.yahoo.com.
“Five per cent of tickets for all the matches can be bought on line,” he said.
Pawar also brushed aside concerns that the World Cup venues were behind schedule in preparation for the mega event and emphasised that the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which is undergoing renovation, will host the final on April 2, 2011.
“I’m extremely happy with the progress of venues in all the three countries whether it be grounds, hotels or security. They are showing very good progress and I’m confident that the World Cup will be a great success,” Pawar said.
“The April 2 final match will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai,” he emphasised.
Shetty said inspections of all 13 World Cup venues, including the eight in India, by the ICC will commence from June 8.
He also said that efforts were on to enable genuine and valid ticket holders from other countries to re-enter India though the visa rules have changed and bar a re-entry within two months for foreign visitors to this country.
“The COC is in talks with the External Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry that valid ticket holders are allowed to re-enter the country. We hope the authorities will take a call on that,” Shetty said.
Bangladesh Cricket Board’s president Mustafa Kamal said there would be no tickets for the February 17, 2011 World Cup opening ceremony in Dhaka. “You are welcome”, he said.