LAHORE, March 2 Five venues in Australia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates are under consideration for the biennial Champions Trophy this year, a top official said on Monday.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) last month moved the elite eight-nation event out of Pakistan after three countries refused to tour the Muslim country over security fears.

The event is scheduled for Sept 24 to Oct 5 with a final decision on the host country to be made by the ICC executive board in Dubai next month.

ICC general manager Dave Richardson said some had questioned the idea of holding the event in Sri Lanka, announced as the alternative venue in case the event was scrapped in Pakistan.

“Some doubts have been raised as far as Sri Lanka is concerned,” said Richardson adding that weather was an issue on the island where the 2002 edition was hit badly by rain.

“If it`s not Sri Lanka, the options narrow down considerably to Perth, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Dubai and Abu Dhabi and these options need to be considered next month,” said Richardson.

The ill-fated event was first postponed in September last year when South Africa refused to tour Pakistan, while Australia, England and New Zealand also voiced concerns over touring the troubled country.

Richardson said the event will be shortened to 12 days.

“What the board has decided is that we want to hold the tournament over 12 days which means that we have to have two venues in virtually the same city, with no international travel being involved,” said Richardson.

Australia will defend the title they won in India in 2006. England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies are the other competing teams.—AFP

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