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Aussie consider racist fan lock-out

Published: 9:19AM Tuesday January 31, 2006 Source: AAP

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland says the game's national ruling body is considering a European football-style lock-out system for racist fans.

South African cricket boss Gerald Majola has threatened to boycott future tours of Australia if racial abuse towards the Proteas continues, a South African daily reported yesterday.

Now Cricket Australia is considering following the example of European football and devising a register of "undesirable" fans that would be distributed to gate attendants in a bid to stop boorish, racist spectators from entering international venues.

"Though violent behaviour hasn't been prevalent at international cricket matches this summer, CA chief executive James Sutherland believes the same method could be applied to curb the racist taunting of players by fans, such as that which distressed the South African team," Fairfax reported on Tuesday.

Sutherland told the newspapers: "Look at the way they address the issue of hooliganism in England.

"We hope we don't need to get to that stage, but they have been successful in keeping undesirable people out of grounds," he said.

"They have ways of preventing hooligans from travelling overseas to watch soccer matches.

"They make attempts to identify serial offenders and keep them out.

"That certainly is an option and something we want to understand better before we go forward. These type of people are not wanted at cricket matches.

"If there is a cost-effective method of keeping them out, we will certainly look into it."

South African players complained they were racially abused at the first test in Perth in December by drunken sections of the crowd at the Waca Ground and copycat taunting has since been reported by the touring side during matches in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Sri Lankan players also said they were racially abused at Adelaide Oval on Australia Day, Fairfax reported.

CA operations manager Michael Brown recently completed a pre-tour inspection of South Africa, with Australia due to arrive there on February 20 for five one-dayers and three Tests.

Brown told Fairfax there was no extra cause for concern but added Australian teams always received a high level of abuse from crowds in South Africa.

"There are always countries in the world where your players are going to cop more abuse than others, and South Africa tends to be higher on that list for us," he said.