Fan charged with racial abuse against Morkel

January 19th, 2009 - 4:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Harbhajan SinghMelbourne, Jan 19 (IANS) Racism returned to haunt cricket when a member of the crowd was charged with abusing South African pacer Morne Morkel during the second One-dayer against Australia at Hobart Sunday.A Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman said a person in the crowd allegedly racially abused Morkel during the Australian innings.

Morkel, 12th man in the match, did not clearly hear the insult, but a spokesman for the South African team said the remark was “fairly unpleasant”, reports The Australian.

A policeman at the ground overheard the abuse and interviewed the alleged offender, who was last night charged with racial vilification.

CA said last night it had contacted the South African team and the nation’s cricket authorities over the issue.

The incident, which took the polish off Australia’s dramatic five-run victory, follows a string of racial controversies in cricket.

Last summer, Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was accused but later cleared of calling Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds a “monkey” during the Sydney Test.

In 2007, Symonds, who is of West Indian heritage, was repeatedly abused during a one-day tour of India.

The last South African tour of Australia was marred by a series of incidents. The International Cricket Council (ICC) held an inquiry in 2006 into racial slurs against South African players from Australian fans.

The ICC inquiry led to the establishment of strict anti-racism procedures in cricket.

Under the new regime, Gibbs was banned for two Tests in 2007 after a stump microphone caught him calling a Pakistani crowd a bunch of animals and telling them to go back to the zoo.

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