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Gibbs' appeal against match ban rejected

The decision means that Gibbs will not be eligible for his side's third cricket Test against Pakistan.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2007 20:58 IST

South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs will miss one Test match and two one-day internationals after ICC Code of Conduct Commissioner Richie Benaud on Thursday rejected his appeal against a ban imposed by match referee Chris Broad.

The decision means that Gibbs will not be eligible for his side's third cricket Test against Pakistan starting in Cape Town on Friday and would also miss the first two ODIs of the five-match series, which will follow the Tests.

The original sanction was a ban of two Tests but the Code specifies that the ban should apply to the next matches in which the player is scheduled to play.

"I am satisfied that (match referee) Chris Broad handled those (procedural matters) in straightforward fashion, that no justice was denied, the player admitted using the words and unfortunately they went to the world. My view is that the sentence imposed by Mr Broad is correct and accordingly the appeal is dismissed," Benaud said.

Benaud's decision follows Wednesday's teleconference involving the player, his legal representative, Broad, a legal representative acting on his behalf and ICC In-House Lawyer Urvasi Naidoo, who was present in an administrative capacity.

Gibbs had appealed against the two-Test ban imposed on him by ICC after his racist remarks against some Pakistani fans were overheard through a stump microphone before the lunch interval on the fourth day of the first Test match at Centurion. More

Benaud wrote in his decision "it was put to me that the fact the remarks in question were heard through stump microphones on the ground should invalidate the whole matter.

"With the benefit of some experience I am able to add that players, no matter where they may be, should always bear in mind that a microphone could be "live".

"That does not just apply to stump microphones used by television networks, but it could be in a radio studio or in a press conference with the print media. There is no malice about it, but it could happen just because someone has not pushed a button or pulled a switch.

"It is precisely the same in the television commentary box for a television commentator. If you do not use the words, they do not get to air," he was quoted as saying in a press release issued by ICC.

Benaud, however, said it did not mean Gibbs was a racist.

"At Chris Broad's hearing (Pakistan team manager) Talat Ali spoke about the offence the words used by Herschelle would give to the whole Pakistan nation. I am not surprised."

"However, as an Appeals Commissioner and a person, I certainly do not consider Herschelle to be a racist and I take great exception to the suggestion, in the same way I believe Chris Broad would object (to suggestions his finding would do the same)," he said.

Benaud expressed surprise the South Africa players did not draw the attention of match officials to the abuse they were receiving from sections of the crowd.

"Talat Ali asked a very pertinent question (at the original hearing) on whether or not the captain or the players, said to have been abused on the boundary, had brought the matter to the attention of the umpires. The answer was "No, only to the security officers."

"I find it extraordinary that apparently the umpires were never brought into the problem by the captain, or the players. Or by Mr Gibbs himself," he said.