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Oct 17, 2007 at 04:41pm IST

Racist who? Aussie panel indicts own sportstars

New Delhi: The Australian cricketers may be shouting from the rooftop about 'alleged' racism against them in India during their current cricket tour, but back home their own authorities are pointing fingers at them for widespread racial abuse on the sporting field.

A survey done by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission of Australia has found that racism is prevalent across all sports in Australia, The Australian newspaper reports.

The survey, which focused specifically on the cultural diversity and racism in Australian sports, said: "Racism has been the ugly underbelly of Australian sport for over a century now." And even now, such incidents are on the rise, the report states.

HOME TRUTH: Equality panel says racism has been the ugly underbelly of Australian sports.

The report cites specific instances of racial abuse of South African and Sri Lankan cricketers and also ethnic clashes during soccer matches.

"Incidents of racial abuse and vilification are prevalent across all major sporting codes," The Australian quoted Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma as saying in the report.

"The fear of racism in Australian sport is also a major barrier to participation for indigenous people and those from various ethnic and cultural groups," he said.

The report also refers to some uncomfortable truths like the under-representation of migrants and indigenous people and the disadvantages the young women face in sports in Australia.

Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds had last week alleged racism against his team after some rowdy audience taunted him with monkey chants and gestures during the Baroda one-dayer.

Reuters adds: The panel's report, released on Tuesday and entitled 'What's the Score?' says Aboriginal and other ethnic groups are under-represented in Australian sport.

It suggests they are turned off organised sport because they fear racial vilification.

The fear of racism in Australian sport is also a major barrier to participation for indigenous people and those from various ethnic and cultural groups."

The report outlined a wide range of initiatives taken by national sporting organisations, governments and other bodies to stamp out racism but said more work needed to be done.

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