Usman Khawaja charged by ICC for wearing black armband at Perth Test

Khawaja wore the armband in place of taking the field with writing on his shoes which he had worn in training stating “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human correct” to bring awareness of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Black armbands are a steady sight in international cricket to mark deaths of former players, members of the family or other remarkable individuals, but they need permission from the national board and the ICC.

“Usman Khawaja has been charged for breaching Clause F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations,” an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “Usman displayed a personal message (arm band) all the way through the first Test Match against Pakistan without seeking the prior approval of Cricket Australia and the ICC to display it, as required in the regulations for personal messages. This can be a breach under the category of an ‘other breach’ and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand.”

As of Thursday night, this was once a charge against Khawaja with the sanction yet to be confirmed. Although the reprimand did eventuate it would not leave him in any doubt for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, and even a fourth such sanction in a 12-month period would only be a penalty of 75% of the match fee slightly than a suspension. That said, it remains to be seen what would happen whether Khawaja continues to use the arm band at the MCG.

The ICC’s clothing and equipment regulations state: “Players and team officials shall not be permitted to wear, display or in a different way convey personal messages on their clothing, equipment or in a different way, regardless of if such messages are affixed to clothing, equipment or in a different way and if such messages are displayed or conveyed through using the particular clothing or other items (eg. an arm band) or by way of words, symbol, graphic message, images or in a different way (‘personal messages’), unless approved in advance by both the player or team official’s board and the ICC Cricket Operations Branch. Approval shall not be granted for messages which narrate to political, devout or racial activities or causes.”

Ahead of the Perth Test, and shortly after opting not to wear the shoes with the writing, Khawaja posted an emotional video on social media stating that he was once not making political claims. At the time he said he would challenge the ICC over his correct to wear the shoes.

“What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political. I am not taking sides,” he said. “Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is the same as one Muslim life is the same as one Hindu life and so forth. I’m just speaking up for individuals who do not need a voice.”

“The ICC have told me I will be able to’t wear my shoes on the field because they feel it is a political commentary under their guidelines. I don’t imagine it is so. It is a humanitarian appeal. I will be able to respect their view and decision. But I will be able to fight it and seek to gain approval.”

Ahead of the Perth Test when Khawaja was once considering wearing the shoes, CA said: “We toughen the correct of our players to express personal opinions. But the ICC has rules in place which prohibit the display of personal messages which we expect the players to uphold.”

Khawaja is because of speak in Melbourne on Friday.

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