Australia’s Khawaja reprimanded by ICC for wearing black armband

Cricket - Ashes - Fifth Test - England v Australia - The Oval, London, Britain - July 28, 2023 Australia's Usman Khawaja in action Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs/File Photo

The International Cricket Council (ICC) chastised Usman Khawaja of Australia on Thursday for wearing a black armband during a test match against Pakistan because the global body’s regulations forbade him from donning shoes bearing pro-Gaza slogans.

Before the first test of the three-match series last week, which the hosts won by 360 runs in Perth, Khawaja had the slogans “All lives are equal” and “Freedom is a human right” printed on his boots in the colors of the Palestinian flag.

According to Australian media sources, the Pakistan-born opener wanted to wear the boots throughout the match. Still, ICC laws forbidding statements about political, religious, or racial actions or causes prevented him from doing so.

Instead, the ICC said he violated its Clothing and Equipment Regulations because he wore a black armband.

“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,” a spokeswoman for the ICC stated.

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

Khawaja, who received scores of 41 and 90 in the first exam, had declared that he would oppose the ICC and that he thought the remarks supporting the Gazan people in his shoes were not political.

Palestinian deaths toll from Israel’s continuing assault on Gaza, which was a reaction to Hamas’s deadly cross-border raid on October 7, has reached hundreds.

Similar to Khawaja, Moeen Ali, an all-rounder for England and a Muslim of Pakistani descent, was prohibited from wearing wristbands bearing the phrases “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine” by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2014.

To support the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the ICC permitted players to “take the knee” before international matches in 2020 and 2021. On December 26, the second test will start.

Hey, I'm Emily Logan, a sports writer with a passion for extreme sports. From snowboarding to rock climbing, my adventurous spirit and firsthand experiences in the field bring an adrenaline-fueled perspective to my articles that resonate with thrill-seekers.

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