EU directive could stump cricket – report

LONDON, April 16, 2010 (AFP) – Cricket could be facing a world shortage of bats as a result of a European Union directive, according to a report in England on Friday. The bizarre crisis follows an EU decision to outlaw before export the chemical methyl bromide, which is an insecticide used to treat the wood in bats, because it is said to damage the ozone layer.

Each year around 100,000 raw blades made of willow, known as clefts, are exported from England to India and Pakistan where they are made into the finished product.

But the wood cannot leave the country without a fumigation certificate and India and Pakistan do not accept any alternative treatment for the wood apart from methyl bromide.

It is feared the 10 million pounds a year industry could go bust within three months unless a solution is found – potentially plunging cricket into chaos.

Geoff Watling of Anglian Willow Services told the Daily Express: “We have just been following procedures introduced many years ago by the Ministry of Agriculture. Now our entire future is under threat because of an EU directive.

“We were told a form of heat treatment can be used as an alternativ