South Africa to dig moats to prevent pitch invasion

Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2002, 16:59 [IST]
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Johannesburg: South Africa will dig moats around the 12 grounds to be used for next year's cricket World Cup to prevent spectators invading the pitch, the country's cricket board executive director Ali Bacher said on Tuesday.

On Saturday, a spectator at the rugby union Tri-Nations clash between South Africa and New Zealand in Durban got onto the ground where he attacked Irish referee David McHugh.

The official suffered a dislocated shoulder in the incident. "The decision to build the moats was taken nine months ago, so it is not a reaction to the weekend's incident," Bacher told the Johannesburg-based 'Star'. At the 1999 World Cup in England and the Netherlands, there were a number of pitch invasions.

We simply can't have that. "Not only is there a chance of injury to players or officials, as we saw on Saturday at the rugby, but an invasion also discredits the country." The moats, which will cost $ 70,000, will be about 1.5 metres (five feet) wide and filled with mesh netting designed to trap anyone trying to get on to the field, the 'Star' reported.

Closed-circuit television cameras will also be installed at all the grounds, at a cost of some $ 400,000 to monitor spectator activity.

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