World Cup venues face safety checks

Nagpur, where nine spectators died and 25 were injured after a stadium wall collapsed during lunch at a one-day match between India and New Zealand on Sunday, may be taken off the list of next year's World Cup venues.

India will stage 17 matches in the World Cup in February and March and an official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India said yesterday that the Indian World Cup Committee would now be compelled to scrutinise all venues for safety.

The BCCI has asked several World Cup venues to upgrade facilities for players, press and public following recommendations of an expert committee, which included Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri.

Even permanent cricket centres, such as Bombay and Bangalore, have been told to improve their facilities and Nagpur has undertaken an expansion programme. Visiting teams have said in the past that five venues - Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Gwalior, Cuttack and Baroda - were sub-standard.

Law and order is another problem troubling officials. Riots have erupted in the past during matches between India and Pakistan, and the fear of violence if the match was called off compelled officials at Nagpur to carry on despite the tragedy.

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