ICC Charges Usman Khawaja for Wearing Black Armband at Perth Test

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Khawaja replaced taking the field by wearing armband and writing on his shoes, which he had used in training to raise awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, stating “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right”.

Black armbands are often seen in international cricket to mark deaths of former players, family members, or other significant individuals, but they require permission from the national board and the ICC.

An ICC spokesperson informed ESPNcricinfo that Usman Khawaja breached Clause F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations by displaying a personal message during the first Test Match against Pakistan without obtaining the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC. As a result, Khawaja is charged with an ‘other breach’ and the sanction for a first offense is a reprimand.

As of Thursday night, the charge against Khawaja was still pending confirmation. Even if the reprimand is confirmed, it would not affect his eligibility for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan. Additionally, a fourth such sanction in a 12-month period would only result in a penalty of 75% of the match fee rather than a suspension.

The ICC’s clothing and equipment regulations prohibit players and team officials from displaying personal messages on their clothing or equipment without prior approval from the player or team’s board and the ICC Cricket Operations Department. The regulations do not approve messages related to political, religious, or racial activities or causes.

Ahead of the Perth Test, Khawaja posted an emotional video on social media stating that he was not making political claims and would challenge the ICC over his right to wear the shoes.

“What I’ve written on my shoes is not political. I’m not taking sides,” he said. “Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life and so on. I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice.”

“The ICC have told me I can’t wear my shoes on the field because they feel it’s a political statement under their guidelines. I don’t believe it’s so. It’s a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view and decision. But I will fight it and seek to gain approval.”

CA stated, “We support the right of our players to express personal opinions. But the ICC has rules in place which prohibit the display of personal messages which we expect the players to uphold.”

Khawaja is expected to address the situation in Melbourne on Friday.

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