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Politics and Sport

Entry 196, on 2005-07-18 at 21:47:51 (Rating 3, Politics)

A major controversy in New Zealand at the moment is whether our cricket team should tour Zimbabwe. Many years ago we went through a traumatic episode in our history when the country was divided over the tour by the South African rugby team, during the time the apartheid government was in charge there - now we have the same issues all over again.

The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has sunk to new lows by demolishing the houses of his own people. His policies have driven the country to the point of economic ruin and resulted in famines and collapse of the farming sector. So there's no doubt the leadership of Zimbabwe has to be changed. There's also no doubt that sporting sanctions work, so isn't it simple - we just don't play?

Unfortunately, things aren't that simple. In the world of professional sport, contracts cannot be broken, no matter what the morality of the situation. After all, money is more important than anything else, isn't it?

The government doesn't want to tell the cricketers not to go, because they don't want to tell people what they can and can't do - fair enough. The players don't want to refuse to go because they are contracted to New Zealand Cricket and don't want the financial penalties, or possible future official or unofficial punishments - fair enough. New Zealand Cricket doesn't want to cancel the tour because the International Cricket Council will fine then millions and possibly disadvantage our team in other ways - fair enough. And the ICC don't want to call off the tour because... Well, why don't they call it off?

International organisations should accept they have political and social requirements as well as business commitments. The ICC isn't doing anyone a favour (except Mugabe) by insisting this tour proceeds. I think they should canel it now.

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