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Thatscricket - News - ICC hands ultimatum on unruly crowds

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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London: Cricket grounds that repeatedly fail to keep their spectators under control could lose their right to stage international matches, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has warned. The ICC warning follows Tuesday's dramatic walk off by the Australian team at Trent Bridge after Pakistan supporters exploded firecrackers during the One-day match.Unruly crowd behaviour led to one firecracker exploding close to Brett Lee,Australia's deep fine leg, prompting Aussie skipper Steve Waugh to take his team off the ground for 20 minutes.Australian team manager Steve Bernard said, "Once we had cleared the field, we discussed the situation with the match referee and agreed to go back on. If any more fireworks had been thrown, we would have gone off for the rest of the innings."The Trent Bridge incident and earlier pitch invasions at Edgbaston and Headingley led ICC chief executive Dave Richards to tell IANS, "Ultimately, we will have to look at longer term sanctions. Where a ground repeatedly cannot have the spectators under control, we cannot guarantee that it will continue to be approved for international cricket."That's the ultimate sanction. That's our right. It would have to be a very drastic situation for that to happen, and that's not in the immediate vision. But if the authorities in a particular ground or country are not taking this issue, then that's a sanction that could be applied."It's a long time away. But in a different way we've had a couple of grounds where the pitch has been way below standards. One of them was at Kingston in Jamaica and the other at Indore in India."Richards said he believed spectators across the world were generally good, although he deplored several recent instances of bad behaviour."There have been crowd disruptions at a World Cup semi-final. It has happened in the Caribbean, it isn't something that just restricted to one country. It does come and go. On the whole spectator standards are good, but when something breaks down that's big news and, as I said before, it's totally unacceptable to our sport."Richards said the ICC had given each cricket Board a July 31 deadline to come up with a detailed written report on player safety. "So we will know what the situation is, what measures have been put into place to guarantee the safety of players and umpires."He said it was difficult to get a common approach to player safety. In some countries, the boundary lines are surrounded by high fences but in England that is against the law. Some countries, but not all, permit deployment of dogs around the boundary."At the end of the day what we want to see is respecting the right of players to play cricket and put on the show without being distracted by crowd invasions. I think wherever there are crowd invasions on the ground it has to be deplored."What we need to do is to get the support of all the people who go to cricket to respect the right of the players and umpires to go about playing and umpiring without people running on to the ground and throwing missiles or anything like that. There is no space for people going on to the ground during play."IANS

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