Aussies 'should not tour Zimbabwe'

Cricket tour would be propaganda coup for Mugabe, says Australian minister.

    Mugabe faces international condemnation for human rights violations [EPA]
    Australia is among several governments to have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to protest Mugabe's human rights record including a brutal crackdown on political opponents in March.

    "This is a horrific regime in Zimbabwe and we should take a stand against it"

    Alexander Downer, Australian foreign minister

    The Australian team is set to tour Zimbabwe in September for a limited-overs series, although no matches have been scheduled.
    A decision to boycott the tour could see Cricket Australia facing a $2 m fine imposed by the International Cricket Council for breach of tour obligations, unless the government bans the tour or if the safety of players becomes a big issue.
    Downer said the federal government was prepared to pay the fine.
    But, he said, "we haven't reached that point yet and I need to talk through all the details of their contracts with them," he said.

    Downer said the government was prepared to
    pay any fine the team incurred [AFP]

    He called for the tour to be cancelled saying that a visit by the Australian team would give Zimbabwe's government and its president "a propaganda victory".
    "This is a horrific regime in Zimbabwe and we should take a stand against it, and included amongst those who should take a stand are our cricketers," Downer said.
    Mugabe is patron of the Zimbabwe Cricket Association.
    The Australians last toured Zimbabwe in 2004, despite calls for them to boycott, and won three limited-overs internationals.
    Two proposed test matches were cancelled.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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