PERTH: The International Cricket Council Sunday decided to relocate the 2009 Champions Trophy from Pakistan due to lingering fears over the security situation in the troubled nation.
Following a meeting of the ICC board here, chief executive Haroon Lorgat said the "safety and security environment" in Pakistan had forced a relocation of the eight-nation event.
The second-biggest one-day tournament in world cricket behind the World Cup, the Champions Trophy had already been delayed 12 months to September this year because of concerns over player safety.
"The board was seeking some sort of certainty sooner rather than later, and as a result has decided it won't be staged in Pakistan," Lorgat said.
"We all know what is transpiring in Pakistan and India has now got a government directive not to tour, which adds some weight to the countries who had previously indicated they were not keen to tour Pakistan," he added.
"It is unfortunate the Champions Trophy will not take place in Pakistan due to circumstances completely beyond the control of the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board)," Lorgat said.
Despite the change of venue, Pakistan will still earn a hosting fee, the ICC said.
Sri Lanka is the alternative venue and Lorgat said a final decision would be made on the tournament before the next ICC board meeting in April.
"The alternate nominee is Sri Lanka," Lorgat said. "There are just a few things we want to iron out before we confirm that particular as the alternate host."
Sri Lankan officials have repeatedly said they are ready to host the tournament.
But disappointed former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja insisted the nation had done enough to reassure the world that cricket was not a target for terrorists.
"I think Pakistan has done enough to tell the world that cricket is not targeted in the country," he said, referring to Pakistan's hosting of the Asia Cup last year. Pakistan also hosted Sri Lanka for three one-day internationals last month.
"The passion of the game has been badly hit by teams not touring Pakistan," said Raja of foreign teams not touring Pakistan over security fears.
The ICC's postponement of the Champions Trophy in September over security concerns was the same reason given by Australia for not playing a Test series
there last March.
The Indian cricket board in December cancelled a tour of Pakistan scheduled for January and February on instructions from the government in the wake of November's Mumbai attacks.
Lorgat said the ICC was committed to helping the PCB organise future cricket tours, with the country struggling to attract foreign teams since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
"It (security) is completely outside the control of the PCB, and we have offered to work with them to try and get a task team to ascertain how best and when we can get international cricket back into Pakistan," Lorgat said.
Pakistan went through 2008 without playing a Test match as teams refused to tour the country, citing security fears.
Meanwhile, England have once again been awarded the controversial 2006 Oval Test against Pakistan, the ICC announced.
The match was originally awarded to England when the umpires ruled that Pakistan had forfeited the match by refusing to take the field after tea on the fourth day following accusations of ball tampering.
But pressure from the PCB saw the result of the match changed from an England win to a draw by "match abandoned" by the ICC in July.
However, the two-day meeting of the ICC board here reversed that decision, after pressure from Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which said it believed the move contravened the laws of cricket and set a "very dangerous" precedent.
Raja said the ICC's decision to change the result was questionable.
"The double change in the Oval Test result shows the confusion of the ICC administration," said Raja.
Shaharyar Khan, PCB chairman at the time of the Oval fiasco, also blamed the ICC for "mishandling the whole issue."
Current PCB chief Ijaz Butt, in Australia for the ICC meeting, declined to comment on either the Champions Trophy shift or the change in the Oval Test result.