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Jan 24, 2008 at 11:11pm IST

Gavaskar in racism row, ICC to take action

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is preparing to take action against former India cricketer and chairman of its Cricket Committee Sunil Gavaskar, The Australian reports.

The former India great has been under attack for his outburst against match referee Mike Procter, who had slapped a three-Test ban on Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for alleged racial abuse in India vs Australia Test at Sydney.

In a newspaper column, Gavaskar had said that Procter went by the word of a "white man" instead of a "brown man" while declaring Harbhajan guilty of racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

DARK DAYS FOR SUNNY? Gavaskar had said that Procter went by the word of a 'white man' instead of a 'brown man'.

The Australian reports an ICC spokesman on Wednesday confirmed that Gavaskar's case had been referred to the ICC's executive board, which will meet in March.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed and cricket manager Dave Richardson too have spoken to Gavaskar about the issue.

"It will be another big test for the ICC executive board, made up of the presidents or chairmen of the 10 Test-playing nations, which has been accused of bowing to the India and the Afro-Asia bloc," the report said.

Earlier, ICC President-elect David Morgan had also expressed concerns at Gavaskar's criticism of Procter.

"Conflicts of interest pervade our sport. In terms of Gavaskar, within the ICC, there is a concern now that he's chairman of the cricket committee and a journalist who has expressed some fairly outspoken comments," he had said.

The report also outlines the troubles ahead of Gavaskar. “Gavaskar has trouble on two fronts. His comments, which undermine the integrity of Procter in particular and white match referees in general, are seen as a conflict of interest with his role as ICC cricket committee chairman. Worse, as an ICC official he has indulged in two obvious breaches of the ICC code of conduct: commenting on a match referee's decision and claiming the referee's decision was made on the basis of race,” it said.

Harbhajan's appeal against the ban comes up for hearing after the ongoing fourth and final Test against Australia in Adelaide.

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