Cricket fans found guilty of racist abuse at Edgbaston face bans from grounds

Any supporters found guilty of racist abuse at the fifth Test between England and India will face a permanent ban from the ground and other cricket grounds

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An investigation into allegations of racist abuse among the crowd on day four of the fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston is under way.

West Midlands Police announced they were liaising with officials at the cricket ground, in efforts to understand what occurred, with the force encouraging anyone who witnessed or heard any racist behaviour to come forward.

Inquiries are being made to identify an alleged offender whose image was circulated on social media. Police have urged the man to speak with them.

Chief Executive of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, Stuart Cain, has apologised for the "distress" caused, adding "any form of abuse isn't acceptable in life or sport".

Mr Cain stated how anyone found guilty of abuse would be banned from Edgbaston by Warwickshire and from other cricket venues nationwide by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

England captain Ben Stokes with India captain Jasprit Bumrah on day five of the fifth Test
England captain Ben Stokes with India captain Jasprit Bumrah on day five of the fifth Test

He condemned the alleged racist abuse, adding: "So I’m angry about the fact that people think it’s acceptable at an international cricket event and apologise for the distress it’s caused.

“I have spoken to those who raised the issue on social media, the stewards managing the Eric Hollies Stand and the police.

“There has been a great atmosphere over five days involving more than 100,000 England and India fans, but when this issue was reported to the stewards, they couldn’t pinpoint where the alleged abuse was coming from so stewards and the police monitored the area until close of play.

“If the police investigations lead to prosecution, then we will ban those involved from Edgbaston and the ECB will also ban them from all other cricket venues nationwide.

“We have to work harder to stop abuse at its source.”

The fifth day of the England v India Test began earlier today
The fifth day of the England v India Test began earlier today

The official Indian supporters' group, the Bharat Army, reported that "many" of its members at the ground had been subjected to racial abuse from "a very small minority".

A post on its Twitter account on Monday read: “Sad to say many of our members experienced racist abuse from a very small minority of individuals. We will work with @Edgbaston to share all your feedback.

“Thank you to those England fans who stood by us.”

Racist slurs towards Indian players and fans were reported by members of the crowd
Racist slurs towards Indian players and fans were reported by members of the crowd

The allegations were exacerbated, when former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq, retweeted his a thread detailing some of the incidents, alongside the comment: “Disappointing to read."

Following his testimony in front of a parliamentary select committee last year, an investigation was sparked into his claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire which resulted in ECB charges and ultimately major reforms.

The ECB said it was “very concerned” at the reports and reiterated its stance on racism.

An ECB statement on Monday night read: “We are very concerned to hear reports of racist abuse at today’s Test match.

"We are in contact with colleagues at Edgbaston, who will investigate.

“There is no place for racism in cricket.”

England completed a record chase of 378 to secure victory and draw the series 2-2 on Tuesday morning following unbeaten centuries from Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root.