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CRICKET: Tour to Zimbabwe on but NZ won't issue visas.

New Zealand will proceed with next month's tour of Zimbabwe despite increasing opposition from their government.

The nation's administration is leading a global push to have Zimbabwe banned from international cricket because of human rights abuses under President Robert Mugabe.

The foreign affairs ministers of New Zealand and Australia will ask the International Cricket Council (ICC) to change its rules and permit teams to forfeit tours of Zimbabwe without facing hefty fines.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said: 'We're making joint representations to the International Cricket Council urging it to alter its rules to allow teams to forfeit tours to countries where there are serious or egregious human rights abuses.'

New Zealand's government will refuse to issue visas to the Zimbabwe team in a reciprocal tour in December and the British and Australian governments have said they would support plans to exclude Zimbabwe from international sport. However, New Zealand Cricket chief executive Martin Snedden said NZC were bound to proceed with the tour to avoid paying the ICC a minimum fine of $2 million for any boycott. He said: 'We have a contractual commitment to Zimbabwe cricket and to the other eight Test-playing countries. It is our intention to honour our promise and to meet our obligations under that agreement.'

Snedden believed cancellation would have a serious effect on NZC's cash flow and may damage their bid to co-host the 2011 World Cup with Australia
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jul 4, 2005
Words:235
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