The Ashes 2006-07 November 17, 2006

Caborn calls for ICC action on racial abuse

Cricinfo staff

Monty Panesar has already felt the force of the Australian crowd © Getty Images
Richard Caborn, the UK sports minister, has called on ICC to stamp out racial taunts from spectators. He was reacting after Monty Panesar and Kevin Pietersen claimed they were subjected to abuse from the boundary while fielding during England's warm-up matches in Australia.

"No part of sport can accept racism," Caborn, who is in India leading a British sport business delegation, told Associated Press. "The sport's governing body has to get involved and take appropriate action. Authorities have to be at war on this. I'm going to be talking to my counterpart in Australia, we've got a little difficulty down there."

However, James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said on Friday that he did not think Panesar being called a "stupid Indian" was racist. Panesar was allegedly taunted by a spectator during the three-day match against New South Wales at the SCG. "I don't think there's too much racist about that," Sutherland said while launching a tourism initiative at the MCG.

Caborn believes the impetus to eradicate racism should come from within cricket and that the authorities should learn from football's example. "It's an issue for the ICC to deal with, just like FIFA's done in football," he added. "In football we've been reasonably successful. We've tackled it in the United Kingdom through a big campaign that implores people to show a red card to racism."

ICC have toughened their anti-racism code over the past year after South African and Sri Lanka players complained at being targeted during tours to Australia. The England team have not made an official complaint but the ECB acknowledged the incidents.

Under the toughened ICC anti-racism code, adopted two months ago, spectators who abuse players risk life bans from matches, while stadiums risk losing their international status. Caborn added winning the anti-racism campaign would depend on "self-policing."

"It's a matter of education . . . dealing with it systematically and educating people at various levels. We had a problem in soccer, but took effective steps to take it out of the game."