In order to stamp out racial abuse from cricket grounds, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has decided to award stringent punishments to spectators, ranging from ejection from venues to a life ban.
A decision in this regard was taken by ICC Chief Executives' Committee (CEC) by adopting an amended Anti-Racism Code in the two-day meeting on Sunday and Monday.
ICC members failing to uphold the Code could also face penalties -- ranging from warnings through to fines and the possible withdrawal of international status from the venue where any incident took place -- if racist incidents happen at a venue under their control, an ICC release said.
These measures came in the wake of allegations of racist abuse directed at South Africa players during its tour of Australia last summer.
The meeting accepted the recommendations by India's Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati and a working party made up of ICC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Malcolm Speed, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland and Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola.
The CEC and the ICC's Executive Board had reviewed these recommendations at their meetings at Lord's in July and now the CEC has agreed to adopt and implement the amended Code.
The Code was adopted in 2003 and first amended last year.
In addition to the new Anti-Racism Code, the CEC also agreed to a series of Anti-Racism policy initiatives, including the commissioning of an eminent lawyer to draft a legislation dealing with racist behaviour at cricket matches, establishment of a confidential text message or telephone hotline at venues to allow spectators report offensive behaviour, holding of diversity days to emphasise the way cricket continues to break down barriers of race, colour, religion and culture.
The CEC also empowered the ICC members to lobby their respective governments to ensure adoption, establishing tough powers to deal with racism at sporting events.
ICC Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Speed said after the meeting that the adoption of the amended Anti-Racism Code was a further illustration of cricket's zero tolerance to racism.
"That is already enshrined in the ICC Code of Conduct where racism is considered one of the most serious acts that can be committed, with the possibility of a life ban for anyone found guilty of such an offence," he said.
"It has also been a part of our regulations for the past three years through our Anti-Racism Code and the further strengthening of this Code is another illustration of our commitment in this area.
"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 it," Speed added.
The CEC meeting was attended by representatives of 10 full members -- James Sutherland (Australia), Mahmudur Rahman (Bangladesh), David Collier (England), Niranjan Shah (India), Martin Snedden (New Zealand), Salim Altaf (Pakistan), Gerald Majola (South Africa), Duleep Mendis (Sri Lanka), Barry Thomas (West Indies), Ozias Bvute (Zimbabwe), representatives of Associate members -- John Cribbin (Hong Kong), Ricardo Lord (Argentina) and Laurie Pieters (Namibia), besides ICC President Percy Sonn, ICC CEO Malcolm Speed and ICC Cricket Committee Chairman Sunil Gavaskar.