Moeen Ali warned by ICC over 'Save Gaza' wristbands

Jul 29, 2014
Bill Mann

England batsman sports messages on bracelets- are they political or humanitarian?

England all-rounder Moeen Ali has been banned from wearing pro-Gaza wristbands by the International Cricket Council after donning the bracelets as England established a commanding position against India on day two of the third Test at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire.

The two wristbands, bearing the messages "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine", were deemed to contravene the ICC's regulations on clothing, which state that players cannot wear items carrying messages without approval, and "messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes" are forbidden.

The England and Wales Cricket Board had earlier defended Ali, a practising Muslim of Pakistani descent who was born in Birmingham. It issued a statement saying it didn't "believe he has committed any offence" because the wristbands were humanitarian rather than political. He had not asked for permission to wear them, it added.

However, match referee David Boon, the former Australian batsman disagreed and warned 27-year-old Ali not to wear them again. BBC Sport reports that in a statement the ICC said: "Moeen Ali was told by the match referee that while he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match."

The wristbands weren't on display for long – just 28 balls, in fact – as Ali was dismissed for 12, one of only two England batsmen to fail with the bat on a day when the home side compiled 569 for seven before declaring towards the end of the second day of the third Test against India in Southampton. At lunch on the third day, the tourists were 108 for three in reply.

The Guardian notes that while the wristbands had been banned, Ali and his England teammates were today wearing Help for Heroes' logos on their shirt collars to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

Ali also eceived support from another British Muslim cricketer, Nottinghamshire's Ajmal Shahzad, who tweeted: "Absolutely love this! Well done Moeen bro! Keep showing your support! #PrayforGaza".

It's not the first time Moeen Ali has been involved in controversy. Last month the Daily Telegraph carried an article headlined "You're playing for England, Moeen Ali, not your religion", in which the paper criticised him for having said he was "representing the Muslim faith" and that he wore his beard "as a label".

The Telegraph declared: "If you are chosen to represent your country, that is who you represent... if Moeen Ali does not understand this matter, then perhaps Peter Moores, the England coach, can have a quiet word in his shell-like. And if Moores does not understand, he should not be the coach."

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