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Tuesday, November 9, 1999 Published at 23:05 GMT

Sport: Cricket

Cricket ticket plan for ethnic minorities

Pakistan fans made themselves heard at the recent World Cup

A report into racism in English cricket has suggested that a percentage of tickets for Test matches and one-day internationals should be set aside for ethnic minorities.

Warwickshire cricket club's chief-executive Dennis Amiss: "We wouldn't mind keeping back tickets for the ethnic groups"
A selection from the top authorities in English cricket will listen to the results of the report in a meeting at Lord's on Wednesday.

The communities targeted would be fans from the West Indian, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi sectors, who at the recent 1999 Cricket World Cup chose predominantly to support their nation of ancestral origin.

Tickets for high-profile matches at the top grounds such as Lord's tend to be booked well in advance.

Fans from the respective ethnic communites apparently prefer to buy their allocation nearer to the day of the game, when most of the tickets, if not all, had already been sold.

Keeping tickets in reserve would alleviate that problem.

The Times' cricket correspondent and BBC radio commentator Christopher Martin-Jenkins welcomed the idea but warned that positive discrimination could have a negative effect.

"I like the idea in theory. But I'm just a little bit worried how you would define ethnic minority," he said.

"You could get apartheid in reverse, if you look at the colour of their skin before they let you through."

New ruling

Some of the recommendations made are to be applied throughout the entire infrastructure of cricket.

One of the resolutions states that there should be special section of the ground devoted to fans playing musical instruments.

Instruments were evident during the World Cup, although supporters playing the various pipes and drums were not sectioned off.

Next year, the West Indies are due to play England.

Introduction of this new ruling would allow the visitors' fans to play traditional steel drums which have been banned from English grounds in recent years.

The findings come as a result of 12 months of interviews with players and officials from Test level right down to local league, as well as comments from spectators and community leaders.

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