Players' chief in Ali U-turn

2014-09-09 22:03
Moeen Ali (AFP)

London - The head of England's Professional Cricketers' Association apologised after suggesting Moeen Ali should take it as a "positive" that he was booed by large sections of the crowd during England's three-run Twenty20 win over India at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground on Sunday.

Ali's father, Munir Ali, is convinced his Birmingham-born son was targeted because of his Muslim faith and Pakistani heritage, with police treating it as a "non-crime hate related incident" after a complaint from a spectator.

But Porter, the chief executive of England's Professional Cricketers Association, initially responded Tuesday by saying: "His dad offered his view sincerely and I hope it doesn't stoke the fire because he was just standing up for his boy.

"There is an element of taking it as a compliment. You are more likely to boo someone when you think they are someone to be feared.

"Take it as as a positive, you'd rather be booed than ignored."

But Porter subsequently admitted he had erred in his choice of words, telling the Daily Telegraph: "I made a mistake by suggesting racism does not matter and I do condemn it unreservedly.

"I started by saying that in the interview but I also tried to play down the situation because Moeen does not want it to become a major issue. But in trying to play it down I succeeded in doing the reverse and I am sorry.

"It is very important that I make it clear that racist behaviour is condemned unequivocally and I am happy to say that."

Porter added in a statement on the PCA website: "I would like to clarify comments I made in a telephone conversation with a reporter from the Press Association, which have been interpreted as meaning I do not regard racism as a serious matter.

"I want to make it clear I believe racist attitudes and behaviour are unacceptable, at any level, in professional cricket, or in any walk of life.

"Moeen Ali has the full support of the PCA, as do all our members."

Earlier, Porter said he would be surprised if abuse had come Ali's way from India fans.

"It shouldn't happen but I have always found the Indians to be respectful and it is a little bit surprising in that respect," he said.

"Supporters pay their money and they are entitled to express an opinion, but I don't think it's exclusively about Moeen," Porter said.

Police are unable to take further action without a complaint from off-spinning all-rounder Ali who does not want to pursue the issue after taking one for 31 and being out for a duck in Sunday's match.

"We are very disappointed with what happened. It should have been a special day," Munir Ali told the ESPNcricinfo website.

"Moeen was playing for his country in the city of his birth. It is the city I was born in and the city my mother was born in. The whole family was looking forward to it and we thought he would receive a warm welcome.

"Instead he was abused from the start. He was abused because he is a Muslim and because of his Pakistan heritage. That is disgraceful.

"We have experienced so much kindness and goodwill from all communities -- Indian, British and Pakistani -- in recent months, so it is disappointing that some supporters let their team down with this behaviour.

"There is still a problem with racism between Asian communities in the UK."

Read more on:    ecb  |  moeen ali  |  cricket

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