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Clothing Regulations Breach: ICC Reprimands Khawaja Over Black Armband

The International Cricket Council (ICC) reprimanded Australian cricketer, Usman Khawaja for wearing a black armband during a test match against Pakistan in Perth.

Regulation F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations prohibits players and team officials from wearing, displaying, or conveying personal messages on their clothing, equipment, etc. unless prior permission is obtained.[1] As per the provision, approval will not be provided for messages relating to “political, religious or racial activities or causes”. An example provided in the guidance note specifies that a message for commemorative purposes by use of a black armband, etc. is more likely to be permitted.

Khawaja reportedly sought to wear shoes with the slogans, “Freedom is a human right” and “All lives are equal” in the colours of the Palestinian flag during the match as he had done during training. However, since the ICC regulations prohibit such messages, he did not go ahead with it.

An ICC spokesperson remarked that Khawaja was reprimanded as this was the sanction for the first offence under the head “other breach” as per the regulations.

Khawaja later stated that the armband was concerning a “personal bereavement”. When the opener intended to use a dove with an olive branch, a symbol of peace, along with the phrase “01:UDHR”, i.e., referring to Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), on his bat at the Boxing Day Test Match, the ICC refused permission for the same. This prompted Khawaja to call out the ICC for its “double standards” by sharing a video on a social media platform with the screenshot of the ICC rule on personal messages and images of cricketers sporting bats with the Christian cross, an eagle along with bible verse and the “Om” symbol respectively.

[1] https://images.icc-cricket.com/image/upload/prd/ug29zsjsegq7r5bhujk7.pdf