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Speed admits World Cup is too long

28 April, 2007

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DUBAI: Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the ICC, has admitted that the 2007 World Cup, which ends on Saturday, almost seven weeks after it began, is too long.

"We listen to criticism, and there has been a lot of it from people saying it's been too long, so we'll look to make it shorter," Speed told the BBC. "We'll seek to reduce this 47-day World Cup by seven or ten days, and hopefully we'll get it down to somewhere between five and six weeks next time.

"To those people who have said the tournament has been too long, it is worth pointing out that there are three fewer matches this time, compared to four years ago, despite an additional two teams taking part."

He did not, however, explain how he proposed to reduce the length of the event. It has been widely reported that the ICC executive has already ruled out reducing the number of teams taking part in 2011, and the demands of television, which requires a match a day, are unlikely to be flexible.

Speed, who has been fighting back all week after the ICC was lambasted in the media over its handling of the tournament, defended ticket prices which, at many venues, were out of reach of the locals.

As a result, the majority of the matches were played in front of largely empty stadiums. Attendance was further depleted by the first-round exits of India and Pakistan, both of whom were expected to fill grounds in the latter stages.

"It has cost the tournament in terms of supporters, but it has also shown that cricket does exist outside the top eight sides," said Speed. "It would have been great if every one of the stadiums had been full for every match, but that has not happened."

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