West Midlands police launch criminal investigation into allegations of racism in crowd during day four of England vs India Test match

Several allegations of racist abuse in the crowd at Edgbaston on the fourth day of the Test match between England and India made on social media; West Midlands police on Tuesday launched a criminal investigation into the claims

Last Updated: 05/07/22 10:11am


Allegations of racist abuse at Edgbaston during day four of the Test between England and India are being investigated

West Midlands Police have launched a criminal investigation into the allegations of racist abuse on day four of the Test match between England and India at Edgbaston.

Edgbaston officials and the ECB are investigating the incident after claims emerged on social media of India fans being targeted with racial insults on Monday.

The claims were highlighted by former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq, who said it was “disappointing to read”, and flagged several of the allegations via retweets on his Twitter account.

A reply from the official Edgbaston Twitter account in response to Rafiq said: “We’re incredibly sorry to read this and do not condone this behaviour in anyway. We’ll be investigating this ASAP.”

A West Midlands Police spokesperson told Sky Sports News: “We’ve launched a criminal investigation into reports of racist, abusive behaviour at the test match in Birmingham yesterday.

“We’re liaising with Edgbaston officials to understand what’s happened and would encourage anyone who heard any racist language or gestures, or has video footage that could help, to get in touch.

“We’re aware of images circulating on social media showing an alleged offender. We’re making enquiries to identify the person and would urge him to come forward and speak to us.

“Anyone with information can message us on Live Chat through our website or call 101. Please quote crime ref 20-613293-22.”

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq says there is still a long way to go to combat racism in the sport in the wake of comments made Middlesex chair Mike O'Farrell to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

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Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq says there is still a long way to go to combat racism in the sport in the wake of comments made Middlesex chair Mike O’Farrell to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq says there is still a long way to go to combat racism in the sport in the wake of comments made Middlesex chair Mike O’Farrell to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

One of the India supporters at Edgbaston on Monday gave their account to Sky Sports News, saying what began as “good-natured banter” started to get “intimidating” around an hour and a half before the close of play.

“It got to the point where they were pointing at us, and looking at us, and making offensive gestures,” they said.

Racial slurs were then used towards the supporters, the fan went on to say. They said they reported it to the stewards but “rather than take action, they just told us to sit in our seats”.

Stuart Cain, chief executive at Edgbaston, said: “I’m gutted by these reports as we’re working hard to make Edgbaston a safe, welcoming environment for all.

“Having seen the initial tweets, I’ve spoken personally to the gentleman who raised them and we’re now speaking to the stewards in this area to establish what happened.

“Nobody should be subject to any form of abuse at Edgbaston. So, once we’ve got all the facts, we will make sure this issue is addressed swiftly.”

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