PtG Article 29.09.2006

International cricket will throw out racist spectators

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is lawyering up in an attempt to stamp out racism at cricket matches. The Chief Executives’ Committee has decided to ask a lawyer to draft legislation to deal with racist behaviour at matches and then ask its members to lobby their respective governments to get them to adopt the laws.

The appointment of a lawyer is one of several measures agreed by the ICC’s top body on the recommendation of India’s Solicitor General, Mr. Goolam Vahanvati. He  has investigated racist comments made by spectators in Australia towards players from South Africa during a test match in 2005.

Other measures include a text message or telephone hotline at venues so spectators can report offensive behaviour in confidence, official diversity days and a tightening of the ICC Code of Conduct.

In the future, spectators who are found guilty of racist abuse at matches face punishments ranging from ejection from the match to a lifetime ban. ICC members also face penalties if incidents happen at their venue ranging from warnings through fines to the possible withdrawal of international status from the venue.

“Cricket is a sport which reflects the world’s diversity with a range of races and religions all involved. That diversity is something the game can be proud of and our Anti-Racism Code is something that emphasizes the commitment of all our members to maintaining and enhancing,”says ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed.

English players can still be called poms

Cricket Australia has immediately engaged in definitions of what constitutes racism, reports Cricinfo. Peter Young, spokesman for Cricket Australia, assures Cricinfo that Australian spectators are still allowed to call visiting English players for “poms” or “pommys”.

The term is an expression used to describing English immigrants to Australasia. Some consider it disparaging, others find it endearing and it is has been used a lot in cricket.

But according to Austrialia’ Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission the term “pom” is acceptable and not hurtful if “used in isolation, although using the word with others could be deemed racist, offensive or humiliating.