Friday, March 16, 2007

Throw Them Out

After another week of violence and oppression in Zimbabwe, the leader of the opposition has left hospital in a wheelchair after being badly beaten by supporters of President Robert Mugabe. Meanwhile, the country's cricketers have played their first match of the world cup in the West Indies, scrambling a tie against Ireland.

Four years ago the political situation in Zimbabwe dominated the tournament, as England rightly decided not to play a match there. Two Zimbabwe players wore black armbands in protest at the situation in their country, a situation that's got even worse since then. One of them, Andy Flower (without doubt the greatest player in his country's history), has now renewed his call for sporting sanctions against Zimbabwe.

He's right. Cricket is just about the only area in which Zimbabwe still has an international presence. Even though all its top players left the game and the country long ago, it's still allowed to field a side in one-day internationals. The fact their participation in this world cup has passed so far with barely a word of protest from the cricket authorities or any of the other countries, despite this week's events back in Zimbabwe, is shameful. The ICC may argue it's not a political body and doesn't want to get involved, but that's a pathetic stance.

The ICC should immediately throw Zimbabwe out of the world cup and all international cricket. It won't, because it doesn't want another political row overshadowing its showpiece event. But that's no excuse for not doing the right thing.

1 comment:

Ciara said...

hear hear
what, exactly, is the moral distinction between present-day Zimbabwe and Apartheid-era South Africa?
SA was banned from the Olympics in 1964 and rightly suffered decades of sporting isolation.
Yet with Zimbabwe, many people who should know better mutter that politics and sport should not be confused.
what utter bollocks.