Should the English cricket team refuse to compete in Zimbabwe?


On the one hand, Cricket is non-political, the English cricket team are not politicians to be taking action, neither are the cricketers in Zimbabwe politicians to be swayed, maybe the games will ‘forge links’ etc…

On the other hand; refusing polite exchange with Zimbabwe, even in the realm of sport, surely must represent uncomfortable pressure on the government there - it is another method of commenting on what we feel to be unacceptable.

So, the debate is: If a foreign country has an oppressive government that is actively worsening a huge and unacceptable human problem, is it a good or bad idea for non-political bodies to boycott such things as sporting events hosted by the country?

Sport does not exist in a political vacuum, and nor should it. The team should not tour. While I dislike the idea of the government interfering in such matters, I believe that the message sent by non-participation is a better one than the message sent by participation.

Well, being that the English were the original land thieves, oppressors and all, you know Cecil Rhodes, Rhodesia, and all that crap, nah, I don’t think that they should go. I say boycott any country that’s trying to redistribute land that was stolen by an imperialist and racist group of thugs.

no they shouldn’t. Seeing as Mugabwe is the president of the ZCU, and it is a major Pr coup for the cricket world cup to be played there, they should not pander to him.

It is a disgrace that they consider playing there.
and before anyone asks, I think the same should be applied to the Bejing Olympics

EasyPhil, in another thread (on the same topic) I already stated that I think that land reforms are necessary and I do not have great symapthy for the white settlers who not very long ago were running an appartheid regime, BUT the way that the land reforms are being carried out is stupid and repugnent, AND Mugabe is a despot who uses murder and terror to rule.

England should boycott Zimbawe as appearing to support this regime in any way, as they say in England, is just not cricket.

One of the major reasons that the team is planning on going is that they don’t think they can afford not to (both from being sued and loss of expected income and so on). Since the government has passed the buck and refused to help they don’t have a massive amount of choice.

Having said all that, I think that they shouldn’t be going, though whether it would actually make a difference or not is kinda hard to say.

EasyPhil, you could do a little checking before you launch into the evil imperialist oppressers schpiel. (Oh, and by the way, that should be the evil British ‘land thieves, oppressors and all’). Mugabe and co are a group of thugs themselves, no matter whether or not wrong was done in the past which should be repaired.

Should the English play ?

No. Why tire players of other teams ?

OTOH, all teams need a morale boost.

So, I guess it’s even.

BBC World News just reported that the English cricketers have been receiving threats of violence and harm if they play in Zimbabwe, but Zimbabwean officials do not find this to be a compelling reason to alter their regular schedule, location, security or crowd-control practices in any way.

For that reason, I think the English cricketers would be well within the boundaries of understanding and placing self-preservation before sport if they decide, individually or as a team, to sit out of the match or even refrain from travelling to Africa at all.

The disgrace here lies with ICC in effectively forcing national teams to take part.

And EasyPhil - given the oppression that Mugabe causes to his own (non-white) people quite apart from the treatment given to white landowners, your comment is sadly ignorant and ill-judged.

No, I don’t think they should. I’ve just listened to a report on the radio about the nature of torture used against political dissidents and human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe. Believe me, you don’t want to know.

The Gleneagles Agreement stood up against apartheid until it ended, and I think that a similar statement should be made against the murderous, oppressive regime of Mugabe, by participants in all international sports, cricket included.

Yep jjimm, electrocution is still pretty much the standard technique of third world dictators. I do think, however. any parallel with apartheid South Africa is a complete red herring – utterly different.

In general;

Best I can tell, they’re damned if they do and they’re damned if they don’t. Actually (and only from the POV of the English team), I don’t think there is a right answer to the question; you just make a personal judgment as best you can.

Responsibility / leadership on the issue should lie with the multinational ICC, who – not unsurprisingly - seem to have accepted just that responsibility last year by awarding games to Zimbabwe. Again, a judgment call. There’s no financial reason to have awarded them games, the decision seems to have been made on grounds of ‘inclusion’.

I think the factors that weighed with me were the fact that 300 British companies currently do business in Zimbabwe (including, for example British Airways flying into Harare a couple of times a week) and the memory of the last Commonwealth Conference where Blair tried to drum up interest in more stringent action against Mugabe and the Africans told him to get stuffed – effectively saying ‘it’s our manor nowadays, fuck off colonial white boy’.

I think I’m happy to let the local African crew assume responsibility for my view rather than adopt a moral, white-boy, hand-wringing, liberal perspective. South Africa are happy (and, for example, Pakistan and India don’t care), I see no reason why I shouldn’t be – perhaps someone else knows more ?

Why do we continue to believe we know better, or our views are superior, to others ?
It would also, apparently cost 10 million to cancel – not sure how that works and I’d take it with a large pinch of salt.

Whatever they decide, it’s going to have zero impact on a dictator like Mugabe, IMHO.

I guess so. I mentioned it not for its African context, but as an example of a sporting boycott to oppose something that the country, on the whole, vehemently disagrees with. You have a point about the hypocrisy in business.

Well, Morgan Tsvangirai is African, and he’s opposed to the tour, so we could say we’d simply be supporting his wishes.

When confronted with cultural relativistic doubts like these, I remind myself of the words of one of the Tiananmen protestors, which went something like: “It’s all very well saying different cultures have different approaches to human rights, but a cosh round the head feels the same no matter what culture you’re from.”

But to quote Christine Keeler, ‘he would say that wouldn’t he’ – Morgan, being leader of the opposition and having a vested interest.

To illustrate the dilemma facing our world-class sportsmen (cough), even the Zimbabwe cricket teamitself seems divided:
“Although Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak is of a similar view, there are unnamed players within the team who feel the match should not take place.”
I suppose I return to my original view, for me it’s a personal judgment call that you make as best you can……

Maybe the whole thing is actually a conspiracy to avoid our further humiliation on the pitch…?

Maybe the whole thing is actually a conspiracy to avoid our further humiliation on the pitch…?

True. But that implies that something better is expected.

London_Calling, I know one player who has spoken out against it is Murray Goodwin, though he is not currently a member of the side.

I’ve had a change of heart about this issue. In an earlier thread I had said England should play, so that any protests at the match could be televised. Now I’m not so sure. I think England took the easy way out here. I don’t think it was a well-thought-out plan.

Gah. I’ll write more later. There’s a lot more to write.

re: he would say that wouldn’t he.
Sure, especially since it’s apparently against the law there to be head of the opposition. :slight_smile: From

I can’t get my head straight on this one. But I do think that this would tear the cricket world to pieces.

Apply that to the cricket world. Who would play by common consent? Not Australia (asylum seekers). Not England (Iraq, see Pakistani great Imran Khan’s scathing opinion-piece in the Granuad). Not Pakistan (dictatorship, widely suspected of being a haven for terrorists, engaging in nuclear threats with neighbour). Not India (nuclear threats, extreme religious nationalist government). Not numerous West Indian nations (corruption, drug-running, money-laundering). Good job Sri Lanka’s civil war is at a pause and Bangladesh’s appalling record on women’s rights isn’t well known, or Holland would win the cup.

In the circumstances, I don’t think a boycott of Zimbabwe (why not Kenya as well - things aren’t too flash there either) would achieve much, because the divisions in the cricketing world would utterly obscure any “snubbing Mugabe” message.

I think it’s too late for England to pull out now. In my view the fault lies mainly with the ICC, and partly with the British Government. (Well obviously it lies mainly with Mugabe, but you know what I mean).

Fair play to Blair for speaking out against Mugabe at the Commonwealth conference (for what good it did), but if he didn’t want England to play cricket in Zimbabwe he should have made it clear before contracts were signed.

It’s a little irritating to hear the line about taking taxpayers’ money away from public services - there always seems to be plenty around for the politicians’ favourite projects.

It isn’t reasonable to expect Nasser Hussain to make political decisions. And Heath Streak’s view can’t be taken too seriously - he is after all a farmer, and were he to express any other view would soon be an ex-farmer.

As England players have now received death threats, possibly the face-saving compromise will be to relocate the match for safety reasons.

That figure supposedly includes losses from a reciprocal cancellation of the two tests Zimbabwe are supposed to be playing in England next May. What chance remains that those matches will be played even if England do play in Harare remains to be seen.