Security fears in India may prompt Australia, NZ to host 2011 ICC World Cup

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Melbourne, Feb.23 (ANI): With Australian security expert Reg Dickason advising various player association bodies in England, Australia and New Zealand not to travel to India for sporting events in the wake of an Al Qaeda threat to attack these events, the possibility of next year's cricket World Cup shifting from India to Australia and New Zealand could become a reality.

There are grave fears following terrorist threats from an Al-Qaida sub-group aimed at foreigners attending the Twenty20 tournament, the hockey world cup and the Commonwealth Games. Indian cricket officials have, however, ruled out transferring the IPL to South Africa as they did in 2009 over security problems, Fox Sports reports.

Australian Cricket Association chief executive Paul Marsh will explain the report to the players on Tuesday.

Head of the Federation of International Cricketers Associations, Tim May, said players were unsure about playing in the IPL, despite the fact many will receive large amounts to do so.

The FICA head said the report indicated the threats from the 313 Brigade are being taken seriously despite conflicting analysis that they are not credible.

"They are credible and I don't think there are too many people that will oppose that position," May said.

"But you know, the threats are threats and there are various security procedures and arrangements or whatever that may be able to dilute to an acceptable level those sort of threats. And, that is what we are trying to gain at the moment - some confidence in the security arrangements around those particular threats," he added.

South Africa played India in a one-day international at Jaipur on Sunday despite local police claiming there were threats against the event.

Indian authorities instituted what May called "unprecedented" security for the game and the IPL will be attempting to prove that it can provide the same level of protection.

But the issue is exacerbated by the refusal of Indian cricket officials to deal with any of the player bodies.

May said the IPL had a number of significant security challenges.

IPL vice chairman Niranjan Shah dismissed suggestions the IPL could be moved out of India.

"There's no chance it will be moved. It will be played in India, no doubt about it," Shah said.

"The safety of the players is paramount and already the government has given its assurance that all the security will be taken care of. If an individual does not want to play that is their choice. We understand the cricketers' concerns but we all the time keep in touch with the (cricket) boards directly and give them assurances," he added.

Meanwhile, reports from New Zealand Cricket chief executive Justin Vaughan indicated that there were plans to move the 2011 ICC World Cup from India to Australia and/or New Zealand if the security situation declined.

"You cannot move the timing of the tournament, in March-April, so really there's only Australia, New Zealand and South Africa who could host it," he said.

"The whole issue of security is dynamic, but we will assess it very carefully and implement whatever measures are necessary to ensure safety and security. I do not share the same concerns for India as Pakistan," he added. (ANI)

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