Global Round-up

Media houses to boycott Test series

NEW DELHI – International news agencies, including AFP, warned today they may be forced to suspend coverage of the Test cricket series between India and England to protest restrictions imposed by authorities.

The News Media Coalition, which represents a group of media organisations, “deplored” a decision by the Board of Cricket Control for India (BCCI) to bar photo agencies such as Getty Images and Action Images and urged it to rethink.

Any suspension would deprive millions of cricket fans of coverage of one of the most-eagerly anticipated series of the year, which starts on Thursday.

“In our view, the BCCI’s move will hit fans and cricket sponsors alike,” said Andrew Moger, the executive director of the London-based coalition.

“The BCCI has offered to make its own photographs available but this is no substitute for independent and objective press photography.”

While accreditation has only been withheld from photo agencies, other news organisations fear the move sets a dangerous precedent.

“Despite numerous opportunities, the BCCI has yet to explain why it is discriminating against photographic agencies or indeed whether other news sectors will be targeted,” said Moger, whose organisation campaigns against reporting restrictions.

“We deplore this move and insult to organisations which have supported cricket worldwide.”

In a statement, Agence France-Presse said the agency would not provide text and photo coverage of the four-Test series unless the matter could be resolved ahead of the series.


’50-50 shot’

LONDON – England new-boy Wilfried Zaha admits “it’s 50-50” as to whether he will represent his adopted country long-term.


The 20-year-old Crystal Palace winger has been included in Roy Hodgson’s squad to face Sweden and is expected to make his senior debut, having previously featured at under-21 level.

But as the match is only a friendly Zaha, who was born in the Ivory Coast but moved to England with his family aged four, would still be free to switch his allegiance to the country of his birth.

He has already had a telephone call from Elephants legend Didier Drogba urging him to do just that, but remains in two minds. “I was born in the Ivory Coast but all I know is England. It’s 50-50 at the moment,” Zaha told national newspapers.

“Didier Drogba called me and I was shocked, to be honest. He’s a humble guy. I’ve been with England Under-21s and now I will have to make a decision.”


Jockey charged

VICTORIA – Leading Australian jockey Damien Oliver was charged today with two offences related to placing a bet on another horse two years ago.

The 40-year-old, who admitted to the wager, was stood down from the sport immediately pending a hearing on November 20.

“The admission and charges follow an investigation by stewards into allegations Mr Oliver bet on favourite and race winner Miss Octopussy at Moonee Valley on 1 October 2010, a race in which he finished sixth on second favourite Europa Point,” the statement read.

Allegations that Oliver had placed the bet surfaced in local newspapers on the day of last week’s Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most celebrated thoroughbred horse race.

The reports said the jockey placed a A$10,000 bet on Miss Octopussy but RV officials today did not specify the size of the wager.

Oliver finished 11th on 2010 winner Americain in last week’s Melbourne Cup.

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