Melbourne, July 26 : Cricket Australia is certain to heed security advice and boycott the Champions Trophy in Pakistan and face the anger of cricketing nations.
Australia after announcing their withdrawal will be at loggerheads with Asian nations - India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - who voted against moving the event despite growing safety fears in Pakistan.
But the path has been cleared for an Australian boycott with confirmation that any team refusing to tour Pakistan will not be penalised, the Daily Telegraph reported.
ICC's chief executive Haroon Lorgat said no player opting to pull out would be penalised, nor would their respective boards, while Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that the usual fines for pulling out of a series would not apply.
For Australia, there is also safety in numbers, with England and New Zealand set to refuse to send their teams to the event.
A Cricket Australia source said there was no doubt Australia would now boycott the tournament, while Sutherland said he had hoped for an alternate venue.
Meanwhile, player associations from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England lined up to condemn the ICC's decision to keep Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
Australian Cricketers Association chief executive Paul Marsh said the ACA continues to have serious concerns with players touring Pakistan.
"Based on the independent information and advice received, we maintain that the risks are simply too great for the ACA to recommend that our players tour Pakistan at this time," Marsh said.
"We would expect Cricket Australia to adopt the same position," he added.
This has left CA squeezed between the ICC and its cricketers as it attempts to balance the security concerns of players who will refuse to tour, with the political realities of upsetting a dominant Asian bloc led by India.
CA chief executive James Sutherland has assured the players that CA reserves the right to withdraw from the tour despite the ICC's decision and made it clear that no player will be forced to tour against his will.
However, Sutherland concedes CA may come into conflict with its players if it decides to send a team to the Champions Trophy.
This may also be the case in other countries, with the chief executive of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association Heath Mills ruling out the Kiwis touring.
South African Cricketers Association chief executive Tony Irish continues to express a similar view despite Cricket South Africa supporting Pakistan as a venue.
Sean Morris, chief executive of the Professional Cricketers Association in England, said: "On security issues there can be no compromise. You can't twist arms to persuade people to go."
The four-nation Asian bloc was concerned that any attempt to move the tournament on the grounds of safety and security could undermine the joint hosting of the 2011 World Cup by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.