The British skies are known for flying banners; the calls for Premier League managers’ heads during poor seasons are common. But to see them flying over cricket stadiums was not just unexpected but also shocking, since not sporting statements but political statements have been made through it. After the ‘Justice for Balochistan’ banner flew over the cricketing action at Pakistan vs Afghanistan clash, another provocative banner flew over Leeds, the venue of the India-Sri Lanka encounter on Saturday. The International Cricket Council condemned the act, calling it ‘disappointing’, while stating they were ‘dissatisfied’ with the Police after being assured such an event wouldn’t happen again.
Minutes after the match began, an aircraft carrying the banner flew above the ground. The incident took place at 10.40 am local time and the aircraft took 6-7 rounds.
In an official statement, ICC said, “We are incredibly disappointed this has happened again. We do not condone any sort of political messages at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Throughout the tournament, we have worked with local police forces around the country to prevent this type of protest occurring. After the previous incident, we were assured by West Yorkshire Police, there would not be repeat of this issue, so we are very dissatisfied it has happened again.”
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This is second such incident inside 10 days after Afghanistan and Pakistan fans clashed at the venue after 'Justice for Balochistan' banner was displayed by an unnamed aircraft that landed at the Bradford airport.
A few fans were evicted for engaging in a brawl inside the stadium premises.
After 'Justice for Balochistan' banner flew, the ICC had said that it would try that such incidents are not repeated.
(With inputs from PTI)