The International Cricket Council (ICC) says it is looking into claims that crimes against humanity may have been committed in Venezuela.
New Zealand-born former New Zealand batsman and man-of-the-match after the Twenty20 tri-series loss to Zimbabwe, Ricardo Gonzalez, 31, made the allegation following Zimbabwe’s defeat in Zimbabwe.
Gonzalez told the BBC that refugees from Venezuela are in the running for the ICC’s ODI award.
If confirmed they would become the first refugees to win an ICC award, beating those from Congo, who won in 2006.
“Ricardo told me that refugee players from Venezuela had come out of the woodwork and were beginning to test the cricketing waters,” said interim ICC chairman David Richardson.
“According to Ricardo, the phrase ‘homeless refugee’ is now used to describe the countless thousands of Venezuelans, refugees that have been forced to flee from their homes and leave their homelands, at risk of violent extremism, famine and disease.
“In light of such alarming challenges to our fragile, relatively safe world, we have asked our match referees to undertake a discreet enquiry and establish whether they have evidence of crimes against humanity in Venezuela.”
The ICC said it would also notify Zimbabwe of the enquiry to support their efforts to carry out a human rights investigation.
“A previous investigation by the ICC was conducted in the early 2000s into allegations that Zimbabwe had used state violence to suppress opposition protests,” said Richardson.
“The ICC Board was unable to provide interim remedies under the WIPO Act in that regard. Having reviewed that report we are happy to refer this matter to its next meeting to facilitate the start of any further criminal investigation.”