England’s Moeen Ali has been warned by world cricket chiefs not to wear wristbands declaring his support for the people of Gaza again during international matches.
But the International Cricket Council (ICC) said Ali would face no disciplinary action on this occasion after being warned about his future conduct by match referee David Boon, the former Australia batsman.
Worcestershire all-rounder Ali wore wristbands during the third Test match against India on Monday that read “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine”, while batting during England’s first innings at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The conflict in Gaza is entering its fourth week, with the Palestinian death toll passing the 1,100 mark and 56 people losing their lives on the Israeli side.
Ali’s gesture led the ICC to say they were investigating his conduct. “The ICC equipment and clothing regulations do not permit the display of messages that relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes during an international match,” a spokesperson for the global governing body told AFP on Tuesday.
“Moeen Ali was told by the match referee that whilst he is free to express his views on such causes away from the cricket field, he is not permitted to wear the wristbands on the field of play and warned not to wear the bands again during an international match.”
The 27-year-old Ali, a Birmingham-born Muslim of Pakistani descent, was photographed recently helping raise funds for Gaza relief efforts in his home city in central England.
Ali’s wristbands were only on public display for 42 minutes on Monday while he made 12 runs off 28 balls before he was caught off India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
On Monday, the England and Wales Cricket Board insisted they had no issues with Ali’s conduct.
“As far as we are concerned, he has not committed any offence,” an ECB spokesperson said, adding it was up to the ICC to decide what action, if any, Ali should face.
Meanwhile other cricketers expressed their support of Ali on Twitter.
“Absolutely love this! Well done Moeen bro! Keep showing your support! #Pray4Gaza” wrote former England cricketer Ajmal Shahzad.
“Good on brother mo! #prayforGaza” wrote Lancashire and former England bowler Kabir Ali, Moeen’s cousin.
“We have always worn wristbands or ribbons when showing support 4an incident or raising awareness,we do it for animal rights too, y not humans,” wrote former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood.
Before play began on Tuesday’s third day of the third Test, players from both sides, together with officials stood to observe a minute’s silence in memory of all those cricketers who fought and lost their lives in World War I, a hundred years on from the start of that conflict.
Meanwhile the England players also wore shirts with the logo of Help for Heroes, a charity that assists wounded British armed forces veterans, stitched into the collar.
The question of what kinds of protest are permissible at sporting events has long been a thorny topic, with the Gaza conflict not just an issue for cricket.
On Friday, Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang was warned he risked being thrown out of the Commonwealth Games if he repeated wearing gloves bearing the message “Save Gaza”.
Awang could have been ejected from the 2014 Glasgow Games after wearing the gloves in competition on Thursday.
Instead the 26-year-old was given a reprimand and warned not to wear them again.
Though Awang insisted his message was “humanitarian” rather than politically-charged, he issued an apology.