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October 17, 2007
The Indian board president, Sharad Pawar, and the chairman of Cricket Australia, Creagh O'Connor, have issued a joint statement condemning racism, saying that there was "no place for it in cricket - either on or off the field".
Andrew Symonds said that he was the target of monkey chants during the fifth ODI against India at Vadodara and an Australian cameraman in Nagpur reported more monkey chants directed at the allrounder. The local authorities in Vadodara, however, denied that the crowd had made racist taunts.
"Cricket crowds in all cricket nations are often noisy and boisterous, which is part of the fun of cricket," said Pawar and O'Connor in the statement. "But all cricket nations have to be on guard to ensure that the fun does not cross the boundary into unacceptable behaviour. If it does, it is our expectation that the specifics of the ICC Anti Racism Code be enforced without fear or favour.
"Players of all countries have a right to expect they will be treated with respect wherever they play in the world. Spectators, team officials or players who are concerned about inappropriate behaviour of other people at venues should draw that behaviour to the attention of venue authorities immediately so that it can be assessed on the spot and, if appropriate, addressed immediately rather than being reviewed via media reports published well after the crowd has gone home."
Pawar also felt hostile crowd antics were wrongly mistaken for racism. "I believe this is a misunderstanding; a language issue. There are many languages spoken in India, and I don't understand many of them myself," he was quoted as saying in the Sydney Morning Herald. "Still, it is the responsibility of the Indian board to execute that (the ICC's Anti-Racism Code). There have already been steps taken."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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