A BATTIN WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: Greg Ritchie lands in hot water over racist comments

Ritchie’s comments were not well received by Cricket Australia and Moosajee

Cricket Australia has announced that Greg Ritchie is no longer welcome to speak at any of their venues after he admitted to using derogatory and racially abusive language towards the Muslim faith at Brisbane.

Ritchie was speaking at a Gabba Members’ Club lunch on the first day of the first Test between South Africa and Australia and according to the Sunday Times, the crowd started to laugh when he told an anecdote which included racist and derogatory terms like “kaffirs” and anti-Muslim jokes.

A Cricket Australia spokesman has confirmed that Ritchie was contacted by the board and told that his comments were “absolutely unacceptable”.

“We’re obviously very disappointed in the comments made at the luncheon at the Gabba Members’ Club on Friday,” the spokesman said. “We’ve spoken to Queensland Cricket. We’ve spoken to the Gabba Members’ Club that booked Greg. We’ve reminded the Members’ Club of the obligations under the ICC anti-racism policy in international cricket. There’s absolutely no place for racism in sport. We’re fully supportive of the ICC’s anti-racism policy on international cricket.

“As well as speaking to Queensland Cricket and Gabba members we are going to take the opportunity to write to all our states and venues to remind them of the obligations under the ICC anti-racism policy in terms of speakers and … if they book speakers, the policy under the code that speakers should be adhering to. Cricket Australia have admitted it’s not appropriate for Greg to be speaking at our cricket venues at this time.”

However, Ritchie defended his comments by saying that they had been made during a tour of the West Indies in the 1980s and had been taken completely out of context.

Speaking exclusively to the Courier-Mail, Ritchie said: “I have told the story 500 times during the course of my speaking career, I do it verbatim, the remark is in no way at all derogatory to anyone if you hear the word in the context of the story I tell.”

Ritchie, who represented Australia in 30 Test matches throughout the 1980s, has been in trouble about some of the comments he made in the past as well.

In 1997, Ritchie was suspended from commentating on Channel Nine after allegedly racially abusing an Ansett Airlines employee.

Meanwhile in 2003, Ritchie was planning to perform his “Mahatma Cote” caricature during the Adelaide Oval Test match between Australia and India, but was stopped from doing so.

South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee stated that he was disgusted with Ritchie’s comments, and said: “It is both disappointing and despicable for someone to make these racist comments, racism has no place in society and in sport.”

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