Fri, Nov 10, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Australians warn `idiots' will not be tolerated at Ashes

AFP , SYDNEY

Cricket Australia warned fans yesterday that "idiots" would not be tolerated at the upcoming Ashes series against England.

South African players complained about being racially abused by crowds Down Under while touring earlier this year and Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he wanted spectators to be well-behaved during the Ashes.

"Action will be taken against anyone who fails to show respect for the people around them," he said.

New initiatives for the eagerly anticipated Ashes series, which begins in Brisbane on Nov. 23, include a mobile phone text messaging system to warn venue management about anti-social behavior and extra security.

There will also be increased closed-circuit television monitoring of crowds and announcements from pre-recorded appeals from Australian players for good behavior during matches.

Australian grounds already sell low-alcohol beer at international cricket matches following crowd problems in previous years at one-day matches.

Sutherland said Cricket Australia wanted to create a family atmosphere.

"No doubt there will be some idiots over the summer who do the wrong thing but we can assure fans that we will do all we can this season to make their day the best it can be," he said.

The rivalry between fans is expected to be intense during the series, with the tourists receiving backing from the "Barmy Army" and the home fans itching to avenge last year's defeat.

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