LONDON: Cricket officials are to deploy undercover spotters into the crowd at Edgbaston during Saturday’s Twenty20 international between England and India in a bid to combat racist abuse.
Warwickshire, the English county whse headquarters are at the Birmingham ground, have announced several measures in a bid to stamp out racism after several fans reported incidents of abuse during England’s recent Test match against India at Edgbaston.
Police have already launched inquiries into allegations of racist remarks made on Monday, the fourth day of five, which ended with England winning a dramatic match by seven wickets.
“Undercover football crowd-style spotters will be placed throughout the stadium to listen out for abusive behaviour and report it for immediate action,” said a Warwickshire statement.
Stuart Cain, Warwickshire’s chief executive, said the club had to do more to combat the kind of incidents that marred the Test match.
“Nearly 100,000 people watched one of the most exciting Test matches in recent history earlier this week,” he said.
“But we cannot hide from the mindless racist abuse experienced by some fans following India in the Eric Hollies Stand.
“These unacceptable actions by a small number of people have overshadowed a superb sporting contest, and those responsible do not deserve to be part of the cricket family.
“We need to work harder as people, as well as a venue, to take responsibility for ensuring that everyone feels safe and welcome when watching the game.”
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The Bharat Army, the official India supporters’ club, said “many” of its members at the Edgbaston ground had been targeted by “a very small minority”.
The three-match T20 series between England and India gets underway at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl ground near Southampton later Thursday.