Security concerns foil Florida's attempt to join World Cup party

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The Independent Online

The United States will not host a 2007 World Cup match following yesterday's announcement of the eight successful venues.

The United States will not host a 2007 World Cup match following yesterday's announcement of the eight successful venues.

Despite the International Cricket Council touting the US as one of the bases for the event on numerous occasions, Florida missed out as the West Indies Cricket Board revealed the eight successful bids for a tournament which will comprise 51 matches in as many days.

While expanding the sport beyond its stronghold of Commonwealth countries to established sporting nations like the United States remains high on the ICC agenda, potential problems such as securing visas for players arriving at short notice at a time when America's security is under a new stricter entrance policy could have arisen.

Nevertheless, both the ICC and the WICB insisted at yesterday's press conference at Lord's that Florida had not met the selection criteria.

"This was not a gimmick, their bid was considered in the same way as all the others," Ehsan Mani, the ICC president, said. "What we have to ensure is the integrity and quality of the World Cup in terms of venues.

"People will argue that we should have had the vision to have taken it there, but I really hope that the US does get warm-up matches so that some of the excitement generated by the World Cup will spread to America and some of the people that live there will come to matches."

Warm-up matches have yet to be scheduled, although Bermuda is likely to have at least a couple as the reserve venue to the eight Caribbean choices.

England, already in the knowledge they are to be kept apart from the West Indies, the holders Australia and the 2003 beaten finalists India in the group stages due to the logistics in transferring large numbers of supporters between islands, will find out their base in a week when venues are allocated.

New stadiums are being built in Antigua and Guyana, while St Kitts will be given a complete renovation.

There are two further significant changes from last year's tournament in southern Africa. The number of teams grows from 14 to 16, and there will be a Super Eight stage, in which each country plays the other seven to decide the four semi-finalists.

* India's Test players will be awarded annual central contracts later this month as they fall in line with other leading nations. They will be graded in three tiers, with the top players getting 6m rupees (£71,600) per year and the middle group earning half that. The lower tier will earn £17,900 a year.

2007 WORLD CUP VENUES THE WINNERS

Antigua and Barbuda (New venue); Barbados (Kensington Oval); Grenada (Queen's Park); Guyana (New venue); Jamaica (Sabina Park); St Kitts-Nevis (Warner Park); St Lucia (Beausejour Stadium); Trinidad and Tobago (Queen's Park Oval).

THE LOSERS

Bermuda; Jamaica (New venue); St Vincent and Grenadines; United States.

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