Skerritt a victim of bad, unfair experience: Condon

Published: Saturday, October 5, 2002, 20:09 [IST]
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London: Lord Condon, head of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Anti- Corruption Unit, has said West Indies manager Ricky Skerritt was "understandably upset" by his treatment by the Sri Lankan police during last month's ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.

Much of the attention during the event focused on what the players did off the field. Security officials battled with players to enforce the "access control" regulations ordered by the ICC in the teams' hotel. Skerritt accused police bodyguards of "high-handed and authoritative" behaviour after a move to crack down on women entering the players' rooms. Strained relations between the local police and the West Indies delegation culminated in a Sri Lankan newspaper story that insinuated "prostitutes" had been found in the luxury hotel rooms of Skerritt and team analyst Garfield Smith. Skerritt later said that all visitors to his suite were persons of "impeccable character," but police revealed that three women who had been invited to his room had forged identity papers. However Condon said in a letter to Skerritt he had been the victim of a "bad and unfair experience", according to a statement from the West Indies Cricket Board released on Friday. "I have spoken to the Sri Lankan police, staff at your hotel, Rev Wes Hall and my ACU colleagues and there is no reason to doubt at all what you have said publicly and to me," Lord Condon wrote. "Cultural and language differences clearly played their part. However, the most important factor was that the Sri Lankan police exceeded the guidance my unit gave to the Sri Lankan cricket board. "There is no reason to prevent visitors to your room whoever they are unless there is a link to malpractice. You were understandably upset and the subsequent inaccurate press article seems to be sourced to the local police." After the row, the West Indies management asked for police guards to be withdrawn, a move refused by the security authorities.

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