CRICKET-IRELAND/ SPO-IE-CRIC-GB-EUROPE-GEN-EZC 04-06 0451
INTERVIEW-Ireland to fight 'outrageous' ICC World Cup decision
By Padraic Halpin
DUBLIN, April 5 (Reuters) - Ireland will fight the International Cricket Council's (ICC) "outrageous" decision to shut them and other associate member nations out of the 2015 World Cup, the country's cricket chief said on Tuesday.
The ICC has bowed to calls to shorten the tournament, limiting the next World Cup to the 10 full member nations before giving non test cricket playing countries the chance to qualify for the slimmed-down 2019 edition.
Ireland, the only associate side to cause an upset in last month's World Cup when they beat England before bowing out at the group stage, said the sport's governing body made the call purely for financial reasons.
"Clearly this demonstrates that there are no sporting principles being discussed at the board table, it's purely about money and the protection of privilege. We think it's a disgraceful decision," Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom told Reuters.
"I was absolutely ashamed to be part of a mechanism which can permit decisions like this to be made," Deutrom, an ICC committee member, added.
Ireland, who beat England by producing the tournament's highest ever successful run-chase, upset Pakistan four years ago on their way to qualifying for the World Cup last eight for the first time.
The fact that Ireland have also been ranked 10th in the one-day world rankings for most of the last four years, ahead of full member nation Zimbabwe, makes the decision all the more outrageous, according to Deutrom.
"Some action is definitely required. What way, shape or form that will take, it's difficult to say but action will come. We are simply going to have to examine all the possibilities," he said, refusing to rule out legal action.
Deutrom, who has been giving as many interviews on the issue as when Ireland beat England in Bangalore, said he has received a "massive depth" of support from fellow associated sides as well as the sport's biggest names.
New Australia captain Michael Clarke, former England skipper Michael Vaughan and England bowler Graeme Swann have all spoken out in favour of including the smaller teams.
Ex-England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff called it a terrible decision on his twitter account, joking whether that meant England might fail to make the cut for 2015.
Deutrom said the consequences for Irish cricket and its funding could be dire.
"There was a discussion with one of the government agencies before the World Cup when a 10-team event was possible and he said why should we support when your own sport don't and it's a strong point," he said.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)