Islamabad to protest over racist crowd

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The Independent Online

Pakistan's Sports Minister Ejaz Hussain Jakhrani has suggested government intervention after the national cricket team was racially abused during the Napier test against New Zealand.

Drunks in a corporate box shouted slogans of "Pakistani terrorists" at the players.

"I am very disappointed at our players being abused like this and I will ask the government to lodge a protest with the New Zealand foreign ministry and sports ministry," Mr Jakhrani told the Indian Express.

He said he would also ask the Pakistan Cricket Board to take up the matter with the International Cricket Council as such incidents were unacceptable.

Pakistan team manager Abdul Raquib said the team had not reported any such incident to the match referee as required under ICC regulations.

"Our players heard nothing. They didn't hear any racial taunts directed at them, we have no issues at all," he said. "One or two of the players heard something raucous from over the far side, but they could not decide what was being said and just brushed it off," he added.

Since the abuse on Saturday, the brother of National MP Chris Tremain has apologised.

Mark Tremain, 38, hired Tremain Real Estate's corporate box for himself and 17 friends on the second day of the Pakistan-New Zealand test.

Spectator Bill Stacey, of Clive, said he was embarrassed by the group's "drunken stupidity" and the racist comments, which included shouts of "Pakistani terrorists".

A sign saying "no racist comments please" was later displayed on the park's scoreboard.

"We were yelling out, but not abusively," Mr Tremain said.

There was only one comment he was unhappy about.

Asked whether it was racist, he said: "That's not my understanding, but anyone can take anything any way."

He said council staff suggested they leave at 5pm.

"I apologise to anyone who was upset."

Chris Tremain, who is a director and shareholder in Tremain Real Estate, said what had happened was "clearly unacceptable."

NZ Cricket public affairs manager Stephen Hill said staff took action as soon as they heard of racist insults.

"We want the sport to be free of abuse."

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald