BCCI appeal to ICC to review the ban decision on Harbhajan

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New Delhi, Jan 7 (UNI) The BCCI today appealed to the ICC to review the decision of the match referee imposing a three-match ban on spinner Harbhajan Singh and urged it to "suspend its operation till the appeal is disposed of." The BCCI issued a statement in this regard after an emergency meeting presided over by it's president Shard Pawar here this morning.

Following is the full text of the statement: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has viewed the happenings during the second cricket Test between India and Australia in Sydney with great concern as some of these can have a far-reaching impact on international cricket.

Some of incidents are highly regrettable considering the warm and friendly relations between the Indian and Australian cricket Boards.

The incident involving Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and the subsequent hearing by the ICC Match Referee and his conclusions are, to say the least, distressing.

The Indian Board does not accept the findings of the match referee and has decided to challenge the unfair decision to suspend Harbhajan Singh as it deems it patently unfair. The Board will appeal to the International Cricket Council to review the decision of the match referee and suspend its operation till the appeal is disposed of.

The Indian Board realizes the game of cricket is paramount but so too is the honour of the Indian team and for that matter every Indian. To vindicate its position, the Board will fight the blatantly false and unfair slur on an Indian player.

The Board also questions the very conduct of the hearing as the match referee before reaching his decision disregarded the essential point of any inquiry, that it should be based on facts, rational, detached and objective.

The Board, in particular, is unhappy with the charge of racial slur against India's off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Here it may be mentioned that it is an avowed policy of the Indian government to fight racial discrimination at every level and the Indian Board has been at the forefront to eradicate it from the game of cricket.

For the Indian Board, anti-racial stance is an article of faith as it is for the entire nation which fought the apartheid policies. The Board has always fought the racist sledging of players and spectators and it will continue to do so.

UNI HSB RAR DS1637

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