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Investigate BCCI conduct: FICA chief

International Players' Assn's chief Tim May urges the ICC to probe BCCI's 'backroom bullying' to get Bhajji cleared.

cricket Updated: Feb 02, 2008 17:22 IST

International Players' Association (FICA) Chief Executive Tim May has urged the ICC to investigate BCCI's "backroom bullying" to get Harbhajan Singh cleared in the racism row that had threatened to divide the cricket world. "The priorities of each board have been misdirected at best -- one hell bent on protecting its image and the other hell bent on protecting its revenues," May said.

"Allegations of intimidation, interference and some good old backroom bullying have unfortunately been all too prevalent in this issue and other issues," he alleged. May urged the ICC to investigate the matter.

"I am confident that the ICC will launch a thorough investigation into the alleged actions of both boards and key officials -- there are serious allegations of intimidation and interference of those involved in this hearing and such allegations must be dealt with swiftly and decisively," he emphasised in an interview to Cricinfo.

May felt Cricket Australia (CA) and the BCCI failed Andrew Symonds, who accused Harbhajan of racially abusing him, by not acting properly on his complaint. "... A player held an honest and reasonable belief that he had been racially abused. It does not matter if he may have been mistaken, the fact is, he held an honest and reasonable belief that he had been racially abused. For this, he has been portrayed as a villain," he said.

A livid May felt by letting Harbhajan go scotfree, the two Boards have shown a lack of respect for a serious issue like racism. "Racism is a sensitive and very serious issue within our respective communities. The boards have failed in their responsibility to uphold their respect for this issue.

"They have failed the players, they have failed both the ICC's Code of Conduct and the ICC's Anti Racism Code, and they have failed the communities where racism is a real, live issue," he said. May said the handling of the issue has been so sloppy that players would think twice before coming forward to complain about racism in future.

"After this latest episode and seeing how cricket handles this type of issue, why would any player possibly think about reporting any further instances of racism?" May asked. "You will be hounded by the press, you will be directly or indirectly will be intimidated by cricket officials and you will be hung out there to dry and be painted as the bad guy. "Players should be approaching such matters with confidence that the system will support and protect you, not decimate and discredit you," he said.