Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The family of England all-rounder Moeen Ali have announced that they were disgusted after fans booed him during the one-off Twenty20 International against India in Birmingham.
In fact, a fan even complained to the police that another spectator had shouted racial abuse at Ali during the match.
However, the police cannot take the case further until Ali himself hands in a complaint. But, he has already made it clear that he doesn’t intend to do this.
“If further action was to be taken, the victim would need to make a complaint,” a spokesman for West Midlands Police told ESPNcricinfo. “While the booing was perceived by the complainant as being racially motivated, booing is not, in itself a crime. Had someone been shouting an offensive term, it would be different.”
Inspector Jason Wathes, who is the neighbourhood policing manager for Birmingham South, added: “We have received a hate crime report from an anonymous third party about booing from a number of people aimed at an England cricketer on Sunday, 7 September, at Edgbaston cricket ground.
“While there could be a number of reasons behind the booing, it has been perceived as racially motivated. We have now fully looked into the matter and decided the most proportionate and appropriate course of action is to record it as a non-crime hate-related incident, in line with the West Midlands Police hate crime policy.”
According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, a hate crime is defined as: “Any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.”
Ali’s father, Munir, stated that he was “disappointed” to see his son getting racially abused and called it absolutely “disgraceful”.
“We are very disappointed with what happened,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “It should have been a special day: Moeen was playing for his country in the city of his birth. It is the city I was born in and the city my mother was born in. The whole family was looking forward to it and we thought he would receive a warm welcome.
“Instead he was abused from the start. He was abused because he is a Muslim and because of his Pakistan heritage. That is disgraceful.
“We have experienced so much kindness and goodwill from all communities – Indian, British and Pakistani – in recent months, so it is disappointing that some supporters let their team down with this behaviour. There is still a problem with racism between Asian communities in the UK.
“Moeen does not want to report the incident. He wants to concentrate on his cricket and he wants to be a role-model for all young people to show that, if you work hard, you can succeed in this country. I don’t know why anyone would hate him for that.”