Pakistan promotes anti-racism code
MULTAN, Nov 23 (Reuters) Pakistan is for the first time promoting the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-racism code at its test venues -- but in a language alien to a majority of the population.
In a country where hardly 20 per cent of the population can speak or write English, English-language banners and posters outlining the code are displayed at the Multan stadium, where the second test is being played against the West Indies.
''We are taking the anti-racism code as seriously as the anti-doping measures, although we have not had complaints of racist behaviour at our venues,'' Saleem Altaf, director of cricket operations, told Reuters today.
''These are steps to ensure people are aware of the serious penalties they could face if caught indulging in racist or insulting behaviour,'' he said.
Altaf said local language posters would be erected ''very soon'' to allow the majority of spectators to understand them.
The ICC in September adopted an amended code that allows countries to impose a range of punishments on spectators found guilty of racial abuse, ranging from ejection from the venue to a life ban.
The ICC toughened its stance following complaints about racist behaviour from spectators, including in Australia where England are currently playing an Ashes series.
South Africa lodged an official complaint earlier this year with the ICC against racist comments from spectators in Australia and Cricket Australia has also got tough on racist behaviour after England's Monty Panesar was subjected to racist comments this month.
ICC members can be fined or face possible withdrawal of international status from a venue where any incident takes place.
REUTERS AY PM1203