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CA calls for lifetime bans on racists

The Aussie board has called for lifetime bans on supporters found guilty of racial abuse.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 14:42 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Australian cricket's governing body has called for lifetime bans on supporters found guilty of racial abuse following reports that India's top lawyer has been called in to investigate ongoing complaints by South African players.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement on Tuesday that spectators who racially abused players should either face heavy fines or be banned from attending matches.

South Africa's cricketers have complained of racist taunts from small sections of crowds since arriving in Australia in December and authorities have promised a crackdown.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that India's Solicitor General Goolam Vahanvati would arrive in Australia in mid-February following an official complaint from the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

Vahanvati would speak to venue staff, Cricket Australia representatives and ICC officials in Australia before compiling a report for the ICC, a council statement said.

He would also travel to South Africa and Sri Lanka to interview players and officials from all three sides taking part in the recent Test and current one day international series, it said.

Sutherland said tougher penalties were needed to "allow cricket administrators globally to ban for life or heavily fine the small handful of miscreants who offend with weak-minded racist taunts from the relative anonymity of packed stadiums".

"The weak-minded minority who are tempted to think 'me too' when they see or hear media reports of racist taunts might think again if they realised they faced bans or huge fines of the type that now apply to spectators who trespass on Australian cricket arenas," he said.

"We intend to talk to Australian federal and state governments who supported us by introducing heavy fines for on-field trespassers to see if a similar approach might be possible for racist spectators," he said.

The ICC statement quoted chief executive Malcolm Speed as saying international cricket needed to act appropriately against racism.

"Once the ICC executive board has received this report, we will be in a position to identify what further steps cricket can take to tackle this issue before it spreads beyond the incidents that have taken place in Australia," Speed said.

The ICC board is scheduled to meet in Dubai on March 20-21.

First Published: Jan 31, 2006 14:42 IST