Boycott threats over tournament if Taliban ban women from playing

Australia’s international cricketer Tim Paine said on Friday (September 10) that the teams could withdraw from next month’s World Cup, or boycott the game against Afghanistan, if the Taliban ban women from playing the sport as one of their managers promised it.

The International Cricket Federation (ICC) has yet to decide how to deal with the regime’s stance on women, and the Afghan men’s team is still scheduled to participate in the event, which runs from October 17 to November 14 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. According to ICC rules, nations with observer status must also have an active women’s team.

« I don’t think women will be allowed to play cricket because it is not necessary for women to play cricket« Deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission Ahmadullah Wasiq told Australian broadcaster SBS on Wednesday. »In cricket, they might be faced with a situation where their face and body will not be covered. Islam does not allow women to be seen this way« .

« This is the age of media, there will be photos and videos, and people will be looking at them. Islam and the Islamic Emirate do not allow women to play cricket or practice this kind of sport where they are exposed« he continued.

On Thursday, the Australian Federation (Cricket Australia) said it would « no other choice« than to cancel the first test match against Afghanistan in Hobart (Tasmania) in November, unless the Taliban backtrack. « This is a sport for all and we unequivocally support the game for women at all levels« , she added.

Paine said Australian players « fully supported« the position of Cricket Australia and that there could be consequences for the World Cup. »I don’t think we want to be associated with countries that literally deprive half of their populations of opportunities« , did he declare.

In a statement posted on the Cricket Australia website, the ICC hinted that they would discuss the matter at their next board meeting, scheduled for November, after the World Cup. « The ICC has been monitoring developments in Afghanistan and is concerned about recent media reports that women will no longer be allowed to play cricket. « , according to this statement.

The Taliban had said shortly after taking power that the Afghanistan men’s team schedule would not be interrupted, leading Cricket Australia to announce earlier this month that it still hoped to host the historic meeting on November 27. .

During their first period in power, the Taliban banned most forms of entertainment – including many sports – and the stadiums served as places of public performance.

Although they promised to apply a less strict version of Islamic law this time around, the transitional government announced a few days ago is mostly made up of ultra-conservative cadres of the generation that had imposed a strict regime and brutal between 1996 and 2001 and does not involve any woman.

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