LONDON: The ICC may permanently ban cricket fans who were involved in fighting at Headingly and are investigating how a plane was able to fly over the ground trailing a political banner. Ugly scenes around the Leeds ground blighted Saturday’s thrilling match between Pakistan and Afghanistan and prompted four arrests.
The ICC have publicly reiterated they take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to crowd disorder and insiders have told Sportsmail the first step will be to ban those fans who were detained from future games at this World Cup.
They are also investigating how a plane evaded air traffic control to fly over the ground. Yet it is understood a wider investigation into the violence is underway, and could lead to permanent bans.
There is also concern about how a plane carrying a ‘Justice for Balochistan’ banner evaded air traffic control and flew over Headingley. It is thought to have sparked the trouble.
Footage of the mass brawl shows fans of both teams punching and kicking one another and using steel barriers and flagsticks as makeshift weapons. There were reports many of the fans involved had been trying to gain entry without tickets, but others were evicted from the ground during Pakistan’s victory.
An ICC statement said: ‘We will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will take action against any anti-social behaviour that spoils the enjoyment of the majority of fans.’
Videos shared on social media showed supporters of both countries fighting outside the venue and security personnel being forced to intervene, while ESPNcricinfo reported that at least two fans had been evicted from the ground.
Pakistan demands action
Pakistan has demanded a police investigation into alleged abuse of its players and the flying of political flags after its cricket World Cup victory over Afghanistan was marred by crowd trouble.
The thrilling Headingley match was blighted by clashes between rival fans in an outbreak of violence rarely seen at cricket matches.
Four arrests took place as fans skirmished outside the ground and a group attempted to break through gates. After Pakistan’s three-wicket victory, supporters charged on to the pitch, with fans captured on camera throwing punches at each other in the stands.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the scuffles and flying of anti-Pakistan banners were “a matter of deep concern”.
A statement said Pakistan expected “all relevant authorities, both sports and law enforcement, to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring those responsible to account. “The matter is also being taken up through diplomatic channels.”