Thursday, July 10, 2008

ICC's 2009 conference to be held at Lord's

The ICC's annual conference in 2009 will be held at Lord's, David Morgan, the ICC president, has confirmed. Lord's had held the yearly conference since the first in 1909, but the meeting this year was hosted in Dubai, the first time it had been moved from the body's former London headquarters.

The shift to Dubai, where the ICC headquarters is located, came after it emerged that officials from Zimbabwe may not be granted visas by the British government due to the prevailing political situation in that country. But it's believed the conference will be held at Lord's next year even if visas are not granted to Zimbabwe officials, as the decision to host the meeting in England was unanimously endorsed by the ICC board, which includes Peter Chingoka, the president of Zimbabwe Cricket.

"It is perfect timing as it will allow Lord's, the ICC's home for the first 96 years of its existence, to play a central role in our organisation's centenary celebrations, as 2009 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ICC,"

Morgan said.

"That central role will involve not only the hosting of our biggest ever annual conference week, with all 60 Affiliate Members invited for the first time alongside the Associate and Full Members, but also the staging of matches in the ICC World Twenty 2009, including the finals of both the men's and women's events on 21 June.

"The ICC's centenary will be a time to look back at the legends who have shaped the game over the previous 100 years,"

he said.

"It will also provide an opportunity to look forward and celebrate the thousands of volunteers who sustain the game's grassroots and, at the same time, the ICC will use the year to highlight the special spirit of cricket on and off the field of play."

Looking ahead to his two years as ICC president, Morgan said he would spend much of the next year meeting the ICC's members - their officials and their stakeholders. "We are a members' organisation and so we need to know what type of ICC our members want.

"Do they want a toothless tiger that is only useful to blame for any failings when things go wrong? Or do they want a strong governing body invested with the power to run, and make decisions based on the best interests of, the game, and a body they can trust to do just that?

"Haroon Lorgat [the ICC's new chief executive officer] and I will travel to Full Members, Associates and Affiliates over the next 12 months to seek some answers,"

he said.

"But we also want it to be a two-way street. We want to meet boards and key stakeholders including players, ex-players, media, sponsors, even governments.

"We want those stakeholders to know what the ICC does and to ask if we can do anything differently or better. And, at the same time, we will ask what they can do for the ICC.

"By this time next year, when I report back to the ICC's annual conference, we should have a better idea of how we can help our members - and how our members can help the ICC to ensure cricket remains a strong sport, growing stronger."

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