• Friday, August 19, 2022

CRICKET

MP Preet Kaur Gill writes to CEO of Edgbaston Cricket Ground: ‘We cannot tolerate racism, must clamp down on discrimination’

“Racism is cancer in our society and we all have a duty to act when it raises its ugly head”.

Preet Kaur Gill MP

By: Pramod Thomas

BIRMINGHAM Edgbaston MP Preet Kaur Gill has written to Warwickshire’s chief executive Stuart Cain regarding racist abuse being directed at Indian fans at Edgbaston stadium recently.

“Racism is cancer in our society and we all have a duty to act when it raises its ugly head,” the MP wrote in her letter.

Birmingham Police said they arrested a man on Friday (8) after allegations of racist behaviour during the test match.

A number of supporters said on Twitter they had been targeted by racist abuse from other fans at the Birmingham venue on the fourth day of the test, which England won by seven wickets to draw the series 2-2.

“A 32-year-old man has been arrested for a racially aggravated public order offence after reports of racist, abusive behaviour at the test match in Birmingham on Monday,” Birmingham Police said in a statement.

“He remains in custody for questioning.”

The incident was also highlighted on Twitter by former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq, whose allegations of institutional racism at the club had rocked English cricket last year.

“As a woman of Indian/Sikh heritage with a public profile, I know too well how alienating, infuriating and humiliating it is to be abused because of your background or the way you look. We cannot tolerate racism and we must do more to call out and clamp down on discrimination. That is incumbent on all of us in society, but particularly those of us in positions of influence,” Gill said in the letter which was posted on Twitter on Monday (11).

“Some of the images and accounts I have read surrounding the alleged incident at Edgbaston ground are appalling, with punters reportedly using the P word, foul language and racist tropes about players and other fans smelling of curry.”

The MP said she is proud of the diverse communities in Birmingham and added that it saddens her racist incidents happen ‘in her own backyard’.

She welcomed the investigation opened by West Midlands Police, and also endorse the ECB’s announcement that anyone successfully prosecuted will be banned from all cricket venues nationwide.

The local MP also appreciated the quick actions taken by Edgbaston cricket ground officials.

She also called for a review and acknowledgement of whether the training of stewards has been sufficient to quickly identify and then eject fans hurling abuse.

“The accounts and images that I have seen suggest that the racism directed at other fans was flagrant, and I would be grateful for more information as to how these particular failings were allowed to happen in the first place and what specific actions you will take to stop them. I will look forward to your response,” she wrote in the letter.

“When incidents happen, they must be dealt with more effectively than they were this week. It is important that we send a message that racists are not welcome in this great country.”

Eastern Eye

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