NEW DELHI: International Cricket Council (ICC) endorsed Indian board's decision not to have any international matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla till the year-end, thus clearing the way for the stadium to host the 2011 World Cup matches.

The Kotla came under cloud after the fifth One-day International between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned because of the "unfit" pitch, as ICC match referee Alan Hurst dubbed it.

The ICC accepted Hurst's findings but decided not to penalise Kotla between one-two years or fine as per its rule, giving the benefit of doubt since this was the first time that Kotla pitch has come in for any harsh criticism or scrutiny.

"While the pitch was unfit for international cricket, it is also worth bearing in mind that it is the first time the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch has been rated as unfit, that the ground has a long history of successfully hosting international cricket and that it is scheduled to host matches at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011," said ICC's general manager David Richardson.

In any case, no international matches were scheduled at Kotla for the reminder of this year.

The decision was made by Richardson and chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle after examining both the match referee's (Alan Hurst) report and the submissions from the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI), and after considering all the evidence, including studying video footage of the match.

The ICC pitch consultant will inspect the Ferozeshah Kotla ground as soon as possible and oversee a programme of remedial work throughout 2010 designed to ensure the pitch returns to the standard required to host international cricket, in particular, matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 as planned, the ICC said.

The decision was relayed to the BCCI Thursday.

"As part of its investigation, the ICC received a submission from the BCCI assuring it that no international match is scheduled and therefore no international match will be played at the ground until the end of 2010.

"We acknowledge and endorse the decision by the BCCI not to schedule any international cricket at the ground prior to the end of 2010, which is consistent with our own finding and within the parameters of the relevant regulations that apply," Richardson said.

"We understand that turf pitches, by their very nature, are not and cannot be expected to always behave predictably and that an occasional delivery of unexpected steep bounce, while not ideal especially for limited-overs cricket, is part of the game."

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said the council was confident that necessary remedial work would be carried out ahead of next year's World Cup.

"It is important now that the work should be carried out and domestic cricket played on the pitch to make sure it returns to the standards required for high-level international cricket."

"Let's not forget, this ground is one of the world's iconic venues and it's imperative it stages matches during what is the game's biggest tournament," he said.

Delhi and District Cricket Association heaved a sigh of relief that the ICC did not impose a ban on the Kotla nor any fine.

"It's not a ban. There is no fine. We are confident of holding the World Cup matches. There are no international matches scheduled till December 2010 so its okay for us. We are still awaiting the official letter from the ICC," DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan told IANS.

"The work to rectify the pitch is going on. It will be ready in another month and a half and we will be holding the IPL matches. In fact, ICC offered us to help with the curators and we welcome that."