Cricket: Trouble at Headingley a threat to Test status

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The Independent Online
Test and County Cricket Board officials will wait for Yorkshire's report into the crowd trouble which has marred the second Test at Headingley yesterday before deciding on any action.

England's match with Pakistan was overshadowed by crowd trouble on the notorious Western Terrace - the scene of a number of incidents in recent years. The Yorkshire president Sir Lawrence Byford went into the crowd yesterday in an attempt to appease the troublemakers.

Yorkshire, concerned about the possibility of trouble in that area of the ground, had removed every third row in the Terrace to ease security access and also banned the sale of alcohol in the area.

But police still ejected around 80 people on Friday and estimated that a further 100 were thrown out of the ground yesterday while 10 arrests for public order offences were made.

Sir Lawrence, 71 yesterday, admitted: "Much more of this and we could lose our Test match status here. I am on the executive committee of the Test and County Cricket Board and I will be making a full report to them."

Asked if the trouble had racial undertones, Sir Lawrence - who claimed cricket may have to follow football's example and erect fences to quell the trouble - answered: "Use your own eyes."

Derek Fatchett, the Labour MP for Leeds Central, was in the crowd and had no doubt that the trouble was racially motivated.

"I think there are members of the far right here who have come over from Elland Road," he said. "The only answer is the closure of the Western Terrace - it is a slum.

"I feel sorry for the genuine cricket watchers. I have talked to Yorkshire before about this and if something is not done I think we could lose our Test match status."