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‘First and final warning’ for trio behind ‘It’s OK to be white’ banner in Perth

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Police are investigating after three men unfurled an ‘It’s OK to be white’ banner at a Big Bash League match in Perth last week. Cricket Australia condemned the incident and issued the trio “a first and final warning”.

The men, aged 50, 24 and 38, put up the banner in the match between Perth Scorchers and Sydney Thunder on Thursday, January 24. It remained up for a short while before they were ejected from the stadium, reports said.

CA stressed on their “zero-tolerance” approach to racism, but chose not to fine or ban the men. According to reports, further action would depend on the police investigation.

“Cricket Australia takes a zero-tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour at any of our matches, which includes racial vilification,” a statement said. “Our message to any fan attending a match is that if you display antisocial behaviour you will be removed and risk being banned from any cricket match across Australia, along with police action.

“We encourage anybody who may witness this at one of our matches to report the matter to security or a member of staff immediately.”

Mike McKenna, Perth Stadium chief executive, added, “This is a stadium that is designed to bring people together … There is clearly no place for racism in sport, or anywhere else.”

The phrase has been associated with far-right groups. Last year in Australia, senator Pauline Hanson moved the motion in parliament supporting the statement, and it received support from government senators before they backed down, claiming that their vote for it had been an “administrative error”.

Recently, at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test against India, a group of spectators were ejected over racial taunts.

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