Racism at Wankhede: match referee submits report; none arrested

By Qaiser Mohammad Ali, IANS

Mumbai : The International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad has sent to the world body his report on the alleged racist gestures made by fans during the India-Australia One-Day International (ODI) held at the Wankhede Stadium here Wednesday, while the police denied reports that some fans had been arrested.

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“I have sent my report to the ICC yesterday (Wednesday night),” Broad told IANS Thursday morning.

Broad confirmed that he had seen a photograph taken by a foreign journalist, showing some fans making gestures with their hands. “I have seen the picture,” he said.

The former England Test batsman, however, declined to go into the details of the incident during the day-night match that India won by two wickets.

Some fans allegedly taunted or gestured at Andrew Symonds after he was out to the first ball he faced.

There were also reports that the police had arrested some fans for their behaviour inside the stadium but Marine Drive police station officials Thursday denied any arrests.

“Neither were any arrests made yesterday (Wednesday) nor was anyone put inside the lockup,” a sub-inspector at the police station told IANS.

The seven-match ODI series, which Australia won 4-2, was marred by allegations of racial comments aimed at the Australians, particularly at Symonds who emerged as the most prolific batsman in the series with 365 runs in seven matches.

These incidents led to the heads of the Indian and Australian cricket boards, Sharad Pawar and Creagh O’Connor, to issue a joint statement Wednesday night, “deploring racism of any kind anywhere in cricket”.

“Cricket crowds in all cricket nations are often noisy and boisterous, which is part of the fun of cricket,” said the statement.

“But all cricket nations have to be on guard to ensure that the fun does not cross the boundary into unacceptable behaviour. If it does, it is our expectation that the specifics of the ICC Anti-Racism Code be enforced without fear or favour.”