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Cricket Australia to crackdown on racist fans

Melbourne, Dec 23 (UNI) Even as cricket fans are counting days to the start of the Boxing Day Test match, Cricket Australia (CA) has announced strict measures to target and evict racist fans from game venues.

People caught passing racist taunts would be not only evicted from the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) but also be banned for life from entering the hallowed cricket venue.

CA's 'zero tolerance' policy for the Boxing Day clash against India also involves appointment of undercover surveillance officers and close circuit television (CCTV) scanning to spot troublemakers.

''Our message to any mindless people who are thinking of going down that path is we won't tolerate that sort of thing,'' CA's anti-racism officer Peter Young has been reported as saying by the Australian media.

We will find anyone who does it, they will be ejected from the ground and they face life bans from ever re-entering the ground, he said.

The unprecedented sports venue crackdown down under would also mean, according to News Ltd newspaper reports, that uniformed police officers and 'G' (as MCG is popularly called in Australia) staff would scan crowds for racist slogans on banners.

The cricket authorities have also introduced dedicated SMS service for racist game watchers to be reported. Same could also be done by informing stadium staff.

The crackdown and prevention measures are designed not only for the people in stands but also for the Indian Test players as a 24 hour hotline has been installed for them to call if they experience racial abuse.

The players on both sides could also face strict action if they indulge in racist taunts themselves as umpires have been instructed to report any such violation.

CA anti-racism officer Peter Young said the sport was taking a zero tolerance approach to racism on and off the field.

The strict measures have been put in place as apprehensions were aired that Australian supporters may retaliate in kind against the alleged racial vilification of Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds during the recent tour of India.

Meanwhile, 75,000 fans are expected to attend the Boxing Day Test at the MCG and they can look forward to a perfect weather for the day.

The forecast is of maximum 26 degrees Celsius after three days of incessant torrential rains in the Victorian capital.


Story first published: Sunday, December 23, 2007, 7:31 [IST]
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