Zimbabwe’s cricket team faces ban

AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI While the G8 leaders met today and agreed on targeted sanctions against the illegitimate government of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, some folks in the United Kingdom have finally started to take action in a supremely British way. Two weeks ago, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) severed ties with Zimbabwe’s cricket team ...

594174_080708_zimcricket5.jpg
594174_080708_zimcricket5.jpg

AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI

While the G8 leaders met today and agreed on targeted sanctions against the illegitimate government of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, some folks in the United Kingdom have finally started to take action in a supremely British way.

Two weeks ago, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) severed ties with Zimbabwe's cricket team in late June following a request from Gordon Brown that Zimbabwean cricketers be banned because of the country's human rights violations. Replacing Zimbabwe as England's first opponents next summer will be Sri Lanka, which isn't exactly a beacon of stability or nonviolence either. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe will not be banned from the International Cricket Council (ICC), which is currently holding its annual meeting in Dubai, despite Zimbabwe Cricket's close ties with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI

While the G8 leaders met today and agreed on targeted sanctions against the illegitimate government of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, some folks in the United Kingdom have finally started to take action in a supremely British way.

Two weeks ago, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) severed ties with Zimbabwe’s cricket team in late June following a request from Gordon Brown that Zimbabwean cricketers be banned because of the country’s human rights violations. Replacing Zimbabwe as England’s first opponents next summer will be Sri Lanka, which isn’t exactly a beacon of stability or nonviolence either. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe will not be banned from the International Cricket Council (ICC), which is currently holding its annual meeting in Dubai, despite Zimbabwe Cricket’s close ties with Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

On a related note, Steve James, a former cricketer and coach who is now a columnist for The Telegraph in London, (so he may may know more about cricket than I do) writes that Zimbabwe should not be competing with cricket powerhouses like India, England or the West Indies, not for political reasons, but because the team is plain awful.

As a big sports fan, it’s great to see athletes and athletic organizations doing the right thing, even when world leaders and politicians turn a blind eye to tragedy. Particularly given that the Olympic games this summer are an example of the exact opposite effect: an athletic organization ignoring obvious human rights violations for its own personal gain. (Read John Hoberman’s provocative piece on athletics, politics and the International Olympic Committee in the current issue of FP).

Then again, there’s also times when politics and athletics are mirror images of one another (think Alex Rodriguez and Eliot Spitzer).

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