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Vahanvati to probe racist abuse in Australia

January 31, 2006 13:03 IST
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The International Cricket Council on Tuesday confirmed that following an official complaint from the United Cricket Board of South Africa, India's solicitor general, Goolam Vahanvati, will travel to Australia in February to establish the facts surrounding the incidents of racial abuse that have taken place in Australia.

In Australia, Vahanvati will speak to the venue staff, Cricket Australia representatives and ICC officials. He will then travel to South Africa and Sri Lanka to interview players and team officials from all three sides that participated in the recent Test and one-day international tri-series before reporting back to the ICC Board meeting in Dubai in March.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said that the ICC was committed to ensuring that cricket reacted appropriately to what has taken place in Australia.

Vahanvati was earlier appointed to a two-man panel to investigate allegations of racism in cricket in Zimbabwe in 2004.

"Racism in any form is abhorrent and everyone in cricket is unhappy with the way in which players from international teams have been subjected to racist abuse in Australia," said Speed.

"The actions of what would seem to be a small number of people are reflecting poorly on Australia and on cricket. It is essential that this issue is addressed.

"What is now important is that the ICC is provided with a clear and independent understanding of exactly what has taken place to ensure that cricket is able to respond appropriately.

"Mr Vahanvati has been appointed to provide this analysis and he will report his findings back to the ICC Board in March."

Speed said that Cricket Australia, Sri Lanka Cricket and the United Cricket Board of South Africa have pledged to support Vahanvati and the process.

"I have spoken with Duleep Mendis, Gerald Majola and James Sutherland regarding this course of action and they all support this step. Since the first incident was reported, Cricket Australia, Sri Lanka Cricket, the United Cricket Board and their players have been united in condemning this sort of behaviour.

"The entire international cricket community is united in its commitment to doing everything possible to eradicate any racist abuse.

"Both James Sutherland and Ricky Ponting have been very public in the condemnation of racial abuse and Cricket Australia has sought to make sure that the incidents that have taken place are dealt with swiftly and in keeping with the ICC's Anti-Racism Policy.

Speed said that once the ICC Executive Board has received the report, they will be in a position to identify what further steps cricket can take to tackle this issue before it spreads beyond the incidents that have taken place in Australia.

The ICC Board meeting in Dubai will take place on March 20 and 21.

Vahanvati was appointed solicitor general of India in June 2004. Prior to this, he had been the advocate general of Maharashtra from 1999. With legal expertise in constitutional law, administrative law, banking and insurance, Vahanvati has practiced in the High Court and Supreme Court of Mumbai, and has also been called to give evidence as an expert on Indian law.

In a highly publicised case, Vahanvati represented the State in the Public Interest Litigation field in relation to the Abdul Karim Telgi stamp scam.

 

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