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World Cup 2019: ICC Chief Executive David Richardson talks about increasing vigilance

Local media reported that the trouble between the fans of Pakistan and Afghanistan outside the Headingley Ground at Leeds on Saturday started when a plane towing the message 'Justice for Balochistan' flew over the venue.

Fans of Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley Carnegie Ground in Leeds (Reuters)

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said that the global body is working with the authorities to ensure that there are no further untoward incident like the clash between Afghanistan and Pakistan fans during a World Cup match in Leeds on Saturday.

Two persons were evicted from the stadium after fans of both countries clashed outside the stadium, requiring intervention from the Yorkshire Police.

This was after an aircraft flew over the Headingley Stadium with a “Free Balochistan” banner. Balochistan is the largest province in Pakistan in terms of land area and it borders to the north of Afghanistan.

Richardson said that ICC is in process of upping the security and ensure no such political slogans are raised at the ground.

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“We are working with various security teams to beef up the security. Obviously, it is very difficult to get hold of every person present at the ground. But our security team would be looking for any person, who is trying to raise any political slogan or banner,” Richardson told media persons during a brief interaction.

ICC to take action

The International Cricket Council has said it will take action against any fans involved in “scuffles” before the Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and Afghanistan at Headingley on Saturday.

Videos shared on social media showed supporters of both countries fighting outside the venue and security personnel being forced to intervene.

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“We are aware of some scuffles among a minority of fans and are currently working with the venue security team and the local police force, West Yorkshire Police, to ensure there are no further incidents,” an ICC spokesperson said.

“We do not condone this type of behaviour, and will take appropriate action against any anti-social behaviour that spoils the enjoyment for the majority of fans.”

“We work with local police forces around the country to prevent this type of incident occurring and were assured that given Headingley is under the flight path for the Leeds Bradford Airport it would not be an issue,” the spokesperson added.

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“We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and will work with West Yorkshire police to deal with and understand why this has happened and to ensure it does not happen again.”

West Yorkshire Police said they had been called in after “reports of some trouble outside the ground linked to people trying to get in”.

“Officers attended to disperse the group without any issues and remained on patrol in the area,” the police said in a statement.

First published on: 29-06-2019 at 21:36 IST
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