April 8, 2011 10:03:45 am
Former ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed has kicked up a controversy by claiming in his memoir that the New Zealand judge who heard the Sydney Test racial row appeal had accused Indian and Australian cricket boards of colluding behind the scenes in a way that was “disastrous for cricket”.
Speed reproduced in his memoir ‘Sticky Wicket’ a letter from Justice John Hansen,the judge appointed to hear Harbhajan Singh’s appeal after the Indian off-spinner was accused of racially abusing Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test of January,2008.
According to excerpts of the memoir reported by ‘Sydney Morning Herald’,Justice Hansen wrote in a letter to Speed after the ‘monkeygate scandal’: “Although both boards would deny it,BCCI and CA were having discussions behind the scenes to resolve matters.
“Indeed,they presented me with an agreed statement of facts (signed by Harbhajan,former Australian captain Ricky Ponting,Symonds,Michael Clarke,Matthew Hayden and Sachin Tendulkar) and a consent order that they expected me to rubber-stamp.
“In my view the consequences of such a course of action would have been disastrous for cricket. In any event,their actions undermined the independence of the Code of Conduct Commissioner,were unbecoming,and in my view,contrary to the spirit of cricket,” the letter of Hansen published in Speed’s book said.
The letter of Hansen revealed the lengths CA went to preserve its relationship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India and,as Speed puts it,”the willingness of (India’s) administrators to use their financial muscle when national pride is at stake”,according to the newspaper report.
“The agreed statement had significantly watered down the version of events that had been given previously and made no mention of the alleged racial taunt big monkey,” Speed wrote in his book.
A CA spokesman,however,rejected Speed’s claim and said it had ensured that the agreed set of facts was provided so that the judge could decide on the scandal according to appropriate judicial procedures.
“We are not about to trawl over old ground or make any further comment on the matter other than to say that CA did not at any stage agree to any lesser charge and,on the contrary,ensured that the agreed set of facts was noted in order to ensure the judge could independently assess that matter in accordance with appropriate judicial procedures.”
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