Khawaja charged by ICC for wearing black armband in support of Gaza

Australia’s Usman Khawaja has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for sporting a black armband in the first Test against Pakistan in support of people in Gaza.

The batter had worn trainers with the slogans “freedom is a human right” and “all lives are equal” in training ahead of the series opener in Perth with the writing in red, green and black – the colours of the Palestinian flag.

Khawaja opted not to wear the shoes in the match itself, with Australia captain Pat Cummins saying his player did not “want to make too big of a fuss”.

The 37-year-old instead wore a black armband, which the ICC says was in breach of its Clothing and Equipment Regulations as he did not ask them or Cricket Australia for permission.

An ICC spokesperson said: “Usman displayed a personal message [armband] during the first Test match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages.

“This is a breach under the category of an ‘other breach’ and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand.”

Image: Khawaja says his message is not political but ‘a humanitarian appeal’

ICC regulations bar cricketers from displaying messages of political, religious or racial causes although Khawaja says his is a “humanitarian appeal” to highlight the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Khawaja can accept a warning and carry on playing but could face additional sanctions if he wears the armband again in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Speaking in a video on social media after choosing not to wear his slogan-inscribed shoes in the first Test, Khawaja said: “What I’ve written on my shoes is not political.

“I’m not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life and so on. I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice.

“The ICC have told me I can’t wear my shoes on the field because they feel it’s a political statement under their guidelines.

“I don’t believe it’s so. It’s a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view and decision. But I will fight it and seek to gain approval.”

Khawaja is due to speak in Melbourne on Friday.

Source : Sky Sports