The Federation of International Cricketers’ Association (FICA) issued a report that urges overseas players to decline to participate in the 2017 Pakistan Super League (PSL) final due to concerns over safety of the players. This has been taken as a conspiracy against Pakistan aimed to obstruct the restoration of international cricket in the country.
In the report, the FICA was of the view that the risk level in Pakistan remains “at an extremely elevated state” and that “an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed.”
While all earlier matches in the tournament will be played in the UAE, the PSL organizers vowed the final of the event will be held in Lahore on March 7, as planned, whether overseas players take part or not. If they decline to attend, they will be replaced by players from Pakistan.
Though the FICA has no power to prevent players from travelling, its report may impact the decision of some national boards and domestic teams to decline to issue No Objection Certificates to their players.
Compounding the severity of its warning, the FICA also warned players to “check their insurance coverage” suggesting them to see that it covers their travel to Pakistan.
The report, which FICA says is based on “updated security advice we have received” from “expert security consultants” states that: “Pakistan continues to experience significant terrorist attacks across the country and Westerners have in the past been directly targeted and killed in Pakistan. Indiscriminate and targeted attacks are likely to continue, and expert advice is consistent with all Government Agencies and Diplomatic Missions, who generally advise reconsidering the need to travel.”
It goes on to state: “There have been attacks at sporting events, which had significant security overlay in the past, and terrorist groups in Pakistan have demonstrated the intent and capability to launch attacks anywhere in the country. Locations including luxury hotels are also at high risk of being targeted by militant groups.”
“The historic use of suicide bombers, the willingness of terrorist groups to attack armed police and police protected sporting events, the capability of such groups and the intent, suggests that the risk associated with the running of an international sporting event are problematic at present.
“Whilst the opportunity for attack on international sporting events and competitors in Pakistan can be mitigated to a certain extent by the implementation of an extremely robust security plan, the current advice is that external security environmental factors keep the risk level in Pakistan at an extremely elevated state, where an acceptable level of participant security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed, even with an extremely robust security plan.” The report concluded: “Players participating in this event do so as individuals and at their own risk.”