Sports

Usman Khawaja Armband Controversy: ICC Rejects Veteran Cricketer's Appeal Against Sanction

The 37-year-old, who was born in Pakistan and is the first Muslim to play Test cricket for Australia, had challenged the reprimand saying that the armband was for a personal bereavement

Australia's Test opener Usman Khawaja
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Australia opener Usman Khawaja suffered a setback after his appeal against the sanction imposed on him for wearing a black armband during the opening Test against Pakistan was rejected by the International Cricket Council, a report said on Sunday. (Cricket News)

Last month, Khawaja was reprimanded by the ICC for wearing the black armband to mourn the children who have been the victims of the conflict between Israel and Palestine that has been going on since October last year.

The 37-year-old, who was born in Pakistan and is the first Muslim to play Test cricket for Australia, had challenged the reprimand saying that the armband was for a personal bereavement.

However, a report in Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday said that "Usman Khawaja’s reprimand for wearing a black armband onto the field during the first Test against Pakistan in Perth will stand after the International Cricket Council rejected his appeal against the sanction..."

It was "according to a source close to the situation who wished to remain anonymous ahead of any public announcement being made".

ICC regulations prevent cricketers from displaying messages of political, religious or racial causes during international matches. 

However, players can wear black armbands to mark the deaths of former players, family members or other significant individuals after obtaining prior permission from the governing body.

ICC had said that Khawaja did not take the required permission from Cricket Australia or the ICC. 

"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,” the ICC statement said. 

"This is a breach under the category of another breach' and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand."

Khawaja had also arrived for a training session on December 13 with "all lives are equal" and "freedom is a human right" inscribed on his batting spikes and had reportedly planned to wear them during the inaugural Test.

"The ICC asked me on day two (of the Perth Test) what (the black armband) was for, I told them it was for a personal bereavement. I never ever stated it was for anything else," Khawaja had said.

"I respect the ICC and all the regulations they have, I will be asking them and contesting them … From my point of view, that consistency hasn't been done yet. The shoes were for a different matter, I'm happy to say that, but the armband (reprimand) made no sense to me," he added.

Khawaja also denied that he had "any hidden agendas" when he arrived for a training session with inscriptions on his batting spikes, apparently in reference to the war in Gaza.

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