CA pushes for AFL code to combat racial abuseJuly 10th, 2008 - 2:10 pm ICT by IANS
London, July 10 (IANS) Cricket Australia (CA) is pitching in for the Australian Football League (AFL) code to combat racial vilification that reared its ugly head when Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was accused of racially taunting Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds. The proposal was debated at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) annual meeting in Dubai last week, where Australia argued that the existing process to tackle racial abuse failed during the India-Australia series earlier this year.
Michael Brown, the former Hawthorn Football Club chief executive and now the cricket board’s operations manager, revisited the AFL’s racial and religious vilification code to draw up the proposal.
The AFL has won a United Nations award for the code established after Essendon champion Michael Long reacted to Collingwood’s Damien Monkhorst calling him a “black bastard” in 1995.
Since then, the first step in resolving incidents of racial abuse has been for the two players to attend a mediation session. If that fails, the matter proceeds to the AFL Tribunal.
CA is advocating a similar system, in which mediation would ideally be confidential, and prosecution seen as a last resort.
The ICC is understood to have been unconvinced about the Australian process.
However, CA is determined to keep pushing for a less combative process that, in the first instance, aims for the offender to understand why a particular remark is unacceptable.
“We think this is important, and we’re continuing to argue the case,” Cricket Australia’s (CA) anti-racism officer and public affairs manager Peter Young was quoted as saying in The Age.
“It is consistent with our view, and the ICC’s view, that cricket should have a zero tolerance approach to racism in sport.
“We need to understand what we need to do to encourage cultural acceptance, and that it’s more complicated than simply writing a list of rules.
“We recommended that there should be an intermediate step that recognises the complexity and the need for a more sophisticated process, that takes the high drama out of it.
“Genuine, properly-structured, well-founded mediation can have really good results.
“You can… achieve reconciliation and move on.”
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