CAIRO - A former Australian cricketer has ignited a new controversy after using racist comments against the Muslim community in the country.
There is absolutely no place for racism in sport on or off the field, a spokesman for Cricket Australia (CA) told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday, November 11.We're fully supportive of the ICC's anti-racism policy on cricket.
The controversy sparked during a test game between Australia and South Africa on Friday after former Queensland cricketer Greg Ritchie made racist remarks against Muslims.
Just this morning I had to try and stop three little Muslim boys trying to break the lock on my car boot, Ritchie said at a Brisbane Test luncheon.
I had to say, 'Shut up! You're in there for a reason!'
The former cricketer also used the forbidden racist k-word during the speech to describe Muslims.
Hey Kepler, you're not going to call this lot kaffirs today, are you, he said, in reference to his former teammate Kepler Wessels, who during the 1980s could not play for his native South Africa due to their international ban.
Despite criticisms, Ritchie declined to refuse for the racist remarks.
I've got nothing against the Muslim people, Ritchie was quoted as saying by Fairfax.
That's a joke that I use, and I'll continue to use it. It's just a little humorous joke to indicate that they're not my favorite people of my choice. If they take offence that's their choice.
He also defended himself against accusations of racism by using the word kaffir
It's a joke I've used 500 times, Ritchie said.
It's a reference to us playing against the West Indies [in a match for Queensland against the West Indies in 1980] and I say to him 'You wouldn't use that word against these guys would you?'. I am not saying that Kepler said that word at all.
It is to emphasize the fear I had playing against the West Indies. It is a shocking term and it relays the great fear that we all had about facing the West Indies bowling.
It's disappointing to think this has become an issue. I do a lot of public speaking around the world and I tell the story all the time.
The racist remarks also drew fire from South Africa's Muslim team manager, Mohammed Moosajee.
If that is what was uttered, it is both disappointing and despicable for someone to make these racist comments, he told the Sunday Times.
Racism has no place in society and in sport.
Former cricket player Wessels also threatened a legal action against the former batsman.
That's a disgraceful, offensive and libellous comment to make, Wessels said.
It's certainly not what I'm about and everyone who knows me will know that. I have no idea what he might be referring to. I haven't even spoken to him since the early 80s.
The racial comments are not the first to be made by the former cricketer.
He had made offensive remarks about Muslim-majority Pakistan and its former cricket captain Imran Khan.
There's a place in Pakistan called Lahore. There weren't many of them (w*****) around when we were there in 1982, I can tell you.
About Imran, he said: He's an absolute knob is Imran Khan, that's the only way to describe him.
Trying to wind up the uproar, Cricket Australia said that Ritchie was not welcome at Australian cricket grounds until further notice.
Cricket Australia is of the view that it's not appropriate for Greg to be at our cricket venues at this time, he said.
A senior official from Cricket Australia has contacted the former cricketer, who has confirmed the content of that speech.
We've made it clear that his comments were absolutely unacceptable, the official said.We're going to take the opportunity to write to all our states and venues to remind them of the obligations under the ICC anti-racism policy in terms of speakers and what they should be advising speakers at their venues.