During the high-stakes match at the Narendra Modi Stadium, which drew over one lakh fans, only a mere three Pakistani-American fans were in attendance to support the Pakistan team. Some sections of the crowd had heckled Pakistan’s Mohammed Rizwan with religious chants as he made his way back to the pavilion after being dismissed. This prompted the PCB to file a complaint with the ICC, citing inappropriate behaviour from the crowd.
Mickey Arthur, Pakistan’s Director of Cricket, had admitted that the overwhelming crowd support for India had a significant impact on his players during their seven-wicket loss to their arch-rivals.
While the ICC is taking note of the complaint and evaluating its nature and possible course of action, it seems that the scope of the anti-discrimination code could limit any tangible response.
“The ICC takes every complaint very seriously, but the code is about individuals. I don’t know what exactly PCB is looking at, but it will be very difficult to take any tangible action,” commented a veteran official who has worked with both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (
BCCI) and the ICC, requesting anonymity.
The official further explained that in cases where there are allegations of racism, the ICC could identify individuals responsible, but when it involves a collective act such as a large crowd chanting slogans, taking action becomes complicated. Notably, no player was harmed by any objects thrown from the stands.
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The official highlighted that a partisan crowd is expected in high-stakes elite sports matches, which creates immense pressure on the players.
As part of its standard protocol, the ICC emphasises its stand against racism and its zero-tolerance policy through billboards during its events. However, these guidelines primarily pertain to individual actions rather than collective behaviour.
An example of a collective racism incident in sports is the case of Brazilian football international Vinicius Junior, who faced racist slurs during a La Liga match between Real Madrid and Valencia last season. In response, the governing body of football in Spain sanctioned a partial closure of a stadium stand for several games and imposed a fine on the club.
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The BCCI has also responded to queries regarding the absence of the song “Dil Dil Pakistan” during the match. A BCCI official explained, “There was no problem in playing ‘Dil Dil Pakistan,’ but in that entire match, was there any such moment where you could have played that song?” This statement suggests that the prevailing match dynamics did not provide an appropriate occasion for the song to be played.
(With inputs from PTI)