ECB chief reacts to hooligan suggestions October 21, 2006

Collier accuses Australians of 'deflection' over crowd comments

Cricinfo staff

ECB chief executive David Collier has accused the Australians of diverting attention away from their own domestic issues after New South Wales premier Morris Iemma asked the British authorities for information on "known sporting hooligans" before the Ashes.

"The Barmy Army don't have a history of causing problems abroad," he said. "There will always be a minority element we have got to be careful of. But the probability of large numbers of football hooligans travelling, when tickets have not been easy to get hold of, is at the lower end.

"There is a little bit of deflection going on," he added. "Clearly, the policies the ICC had to bring in were largely as a result of crowd issues in Australia, mainly Victoria, not New South Wales."

Collier also expressed alarm that so many tickets appeared to have ended up on the black market. "The problem you have to be cognisant of is that where tickets are in huge demand you will get touts or people flogging the tickets. Then it becomes less controllable as to who comes into the venue."

The Australian board is aware that spectator behaviour will be under the spotlight after last season when both the South Africans and Sri Lankans complained about abuse.