Wed, Jul 30, 2014 - Page 20 News List

ICC warns Ali against Gaza protest

AFP, SOUTHAMPTON, England

England’s Moeen Ali wears wristbands supporting Gaza and Palestine on the second day of the third Test against India in Southampton, England, on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

England’s Moeen Ali has been warned by world cricket chiefs not to wear wristbands declaring his support for the people of Gaza again during international matches, but the International Cricket Council (ICC) said Ali would face no disciplinary action on this occasion after being warned about his future conduct by match referee David Boon.

Worcestershire all-rounder Ali wore wristbands during the third Test against India on Monday that read “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine,” while batting during England’s first innings at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

The conflict in Gaza is entering its fourth week, with the Palestinian death toll passing the 1,100 mark and 56 people losing their lives on the Israeli side.

That prompted the ICC to say they were investigating the incident and a spokesman for the global governing body said yesterday: “The ICC equipment and clothing regulations do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match.”

“Moeen Ali was told by the match referee that whilst he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match,” the spokesman said.

The 27-year-old, a Birmingham-born practicing Muslim of Pakistani descent, was photographed recently helping to raise funds for Gaza relief efforts in his home city in central England.

Ali’s wristbands were only on public display for 42 minutes on Monday while he made 12 runs off 28 balls before he was caught off India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

On Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board insisted they had no issues with Ali’s conduct.

“As far as we are concerned, he has not committed any offense,” an ECB spokesman said, adding it was up to the ICC to decide what action, if any, Ali should face.

Other sports have also had to confront the issue of competitors making political, pro-Gaza protests.

On Friday last week, Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang was warned he risked being thrown out of the Commonwealth Games if he repeated wearing gloves bearing the message “Save Gaza.”

Although Awang insisted his message was “humanitarian” rather than politically charged, he issued an apology.

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