London:The International Cricket Council has ruled out shifting Pakistan's share of the 2011 World Cup matches to a neutral venue, reaffirming that the games taken away from the troubled nation on security grounds will be held in the other three co-host countries.
In a Board meeting being held here, the ICC refused to give back Pakistan its share of 14 matches, besides ruling out the possibility of involving a fifth country for the event to be staged by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka now.
"ICC CWC 2011 Central Organising Committee has been asked to meet as soon as possible and recommend to the ICC Board, venues within the other three host countries for the 14 matches originally set for Pakistan," the ICC said in a statement.
ICC President David Morgan said the neutral venue option, floated by the Pakistan Cricket Board itself, was discussed at the meeting but was eventually ruled out.
"A fifth country? The board considered that but it has decided the 14 matches originally allocated to Pakistan should take place in the three other Indian subcontinent countries of the full members," Morgan said.
"We need a recommendation from those four host nations, including Pakistan. They will come forward with the location of those matches to the commercial board of the ICC," he added.
ICC's commercial board (IDI) also reiterated that Lahore would no longer be the World Cup administrative headquarter, which has been shifted to Mumbai.
"The IDI Board remains committed to resolve this issue as soon as possible as there is an urgent need to press on with arrangements for the ICC's flagship event, now less than two years away," Morgan stated.
The PCB is currently locked in a legal battle with the ICC on the issue and Morgan said the governing body is trying hard to find an amicable solution to it.
"When two parties are at odds, it is often difficult to reach a settlement. We have not given up hope of reaching a settlement ... the legal action does not help but I don't think it makes it any more difficult," he said.
Meanwhile, the PCB accepted the ICC Board's offer of a task team to help ensure Pakistan retains its position in international cricket. Pakistan has become an outcast in international cricket with no country willing to tour the strife-torn nation.
The task team will be led by ICC Director Giles Clarke, the Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, and include David Richardson, the ICC General Manager ? Cricket.
"We are delighted the PCB has accepted the ICC's offer of assistance as we seek to ensure Pakistan is not isolated as a result of circumstances beyond the control of its cricket administrators," Morgan said.
"We look forward to working with the PCB over the coming months on this issue," he added.