England has conditional approval to play Ashes in Australia

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LONDON (AP) — England confirmed it will go to Australia for the Ashes series in December after its officials gave conditional approval of the tour on Friday.

England has cast doubt for months on the seven-week tour while negotiating for less restrictive health and travel protocols in the pandemic.

Captain Joe Root last week refused to commit to the tour, while Australia counterpart Tim Paine said the Ashes will start on Dec. 8 in Brisbane with or without Root.

Following “excellent progress” in talks with Cricket Australia, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Friday the tour was on “subject to several critical conditions,” without elaborating.

"To facilitate further progress and allow a squad to be selected, the ECB board has met today and given its approval for the tour to go ahead,” it said in a statement.

"This decision is subject to several critical conditions being met before we travel. We look forward to the ongoing assistance from Cricket Australia in resolving these matters in the coming days.”

England disrupted its end-of-year schedule when it canceled a tour of Pakistan this month, then the architect of that controversial decision, chairman Ian Watmore, quit on Thursday.

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