ICC And ZCU Commit To On-going Discussion Over Player Dispute – 21/04/2004 The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said it will play a two-way role in the dispute between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) and its players. Following two days of talks between the ICC and the ZCU, cricket’s ruling body plans to balance the interests of the global game against the sovereignty of Zimbabwe’s administrators in addressing their own domestic issues. Ehsan Mani "The ICC recognises and respects the sovereignty of its members in dealing with often difficult disputes with stakeholders in the game, including players," ICC president Ehsan Mani said in a statement on Wednesday. "It is recognised that issues such as the appointment of captains and the composition of selection committees are matters that fall solely within the jurisdiction of the member board. "At the same time, the ICC recognises and has discussed with the ZCU the international implications of this dispute and its potential effect on international cricket," Mani added. "Over the coming weeks, through the agreed process of discussions, the ICC will be able to monitor this issue and protect the interests of the game while, at the same time, respecting the sovereignty of the ZCU in dealing with the specifics of the dispute." Weakened Zimbabwe While ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka and ZCU board member Ozias Bvute held their talks in London with Mani and ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, a seriously weakened Zimbabwe side has begun a one-day series at home against Sri Lanka. Fifteen white Zimbabwean players were not considered for the first of five one-day matches on Tuesday after a two-week dispute that escalated when former captain Heath Streak queried the composition of the selection panel. Selection Panel Chingoka has said the ZCU are willing to talk to the rebels, adding that his board will restructure the national selection panel, reducing it from six to four and including two new members in former national player Richie Kaschula and under-19 coach Walter Chawaguta. On Tuesday, the ZCU issued a "categorical denial" against what it described as a "mischievous racist agenda" suggesting it was trying to drive white players out of the game. "We believe that we have run the extra mile and walked the extra yard to get the best team playing in Zimbabwe," Chingoka told reporters. "Hopefully, all the players will come back to work as soon as possible." Better Understanding Following this week’s London talks, the ICC has a better understanding of the issues within the Zimbabwean game and has addressed the claims of racial bias and political interference levelled against the ZCU. "The Zimbabwe Cricket Union has provided the ICC with a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved in the current dispute and provided assurances and supporting evidence that the dispute is not about race or politics as it has sometimes simplistically been portrayed," Mani said. "The ZCU has invested heavily in players from all backgrounds in Zimbabwe and representative teams below the international level reflect this investment with players from all races represented in the sport. "The reality is that the issues involved in this dispute are very complex and simplistic portrayals of them do little to identify solutions." Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka Series Sri Lanka will play four more one-day internationals and two tests against Zimbabwe while world champions Australia and England are also scheduled to tour there this year.