The ICC has revealed that a confidential conciliatory process was used to resolve a complaint made by Cricket Namibia under the anti-racism code during Namibia's Intercontinental Cup match against Afghanistan in India earlier this year. The ICC made a statement about the issue through a press release on Tuesday.
Following discussions with an ICC-appointed conciliator, all parties agreed that "some of the offence caused by words used by some of the Afghanistan players resulted from cultural differences, a lack of sensitivity and misunderstanding. The Afghanistan Cricket Board accepted that certain words spoken by some of their players in the presence of a Namibian player could reasonably have been expected to cause offence." Both the board and the Afghanistan players in question offered an apology to the Namibian cricketer involved and stressed "that there was no intention to cause offence on the basis of race, or act in a way that would constitute a breach of the ICC Anti-Racism Code".
The Afghanistan board also agreed that its national squad shall attend an education and training course organised by the ICC, which focuses on "the responsibilities of international cricketers in relation to issues of race, language and cultural sensitivity."
The conciliator appointed in this instance was an "accredited mediator with extensive experience in race relations issues and sports disciplinary matters," the ICC said. The process also involved relevant parties from both teams in Edinburgh, where the ICC's annual conference is presently underway.
In September 2006, the ICC adopted an amended anti-racism code, which extends to player, personnel and spectator behaviour. In terms of spectator behaviour, the code allowed member countries to impose punishments ranging from ejection from the venue to a life ban if the spectator was found guilty of racial abuse.
The process of mediation as a method to amicably resolve such conflicts among cricketers was introduced in October 2009, more than a year after the controversial incident between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds in Australia that nearly led to India pulling out of the tour. The code included a conciliation procedure to prevent "confusion, misunderstanding, ignorance or language and translation barriers" that could lead to such disputes.
David Richardson, the ICC's CEO, stressed the ICC's commitment to tackling the issue of racism. "I would like to thank all parties involved for their cooperation in and commitment to the conciliation process," he said. "I am also extremely grateful to the conciliator for his professional approach. The ICC would like to stress that there is no place for racism within the sport; we are proud of the diversity of the global cricket community and accordingly place the utmost importance on every participant according respect to their fellow players."
The ICC also specified that since all parties agreed that the conciliation process had reached a consensual resolution, the matter was closed and no further comment will be made.