Posted by: nestaquin | February 1, 2010

Enough is Enough: Ban the WACA

There seems to be a tradition at the WACA that stems back decades where inebriated idiots seeking perverse glory invade the playing surface at international cricket matches. It happened several times this weekend culminating in the ugly and potentially dangerous incident where Pakistani debutant Kalid Latif was tackled to the ground late in Australia’s innings.

It isn’t the first time a player has been assaulted on the field in Perth, and while accepting that Western Australian culture is stuck in a time warp where streaking, vandalism and being outrageously drunk is a method to achieve status within your peer group, it is time that Cricket Australia and the rest of the international cricket community took a tough stand against the patrons of the WACA.

It’s always regrettable when the innocent have to pay for other people’s crimes but considering the West Australian parliament’s languidness on this issue, stretching back to the 1970s, a stand needs to be taken.

Apparently this bloke, and the others that transgressed this weekend, will be fined a measly $500, a sum I presume their mates have already kicked in for. And since the authorities in Perth seem to think it is all a bit of a lark then I propose that Western Australia be banned from international cricket for at least the next 12 months. It seems fair considering Dehli was given the same penalty for what was deemed a dodgy pitch.

If the same thing happened to an Australian player, home or away, you can bet that Ricky Ponting would be leading his team back to the sheds where the first official he encountered would be given an almighty spray.

I could rant on about useless fat cowardly security, the damage to the national reputation (or should that be confirmation of national stereotype) and Monica Seles but I have more important matters to attend to. Like washing up and brushing my teeth.

The message is simple. Hosting international cricket is a privilege not a right and Perth doesn’t deserve any until it cleans up its act. This isn’t an isolated incident, it happens every year. A good start would be banning booze. If they won’t or can’t, impose a ban on the venue. Honestly, the WACA wouldn’t even be missed. Hobart, where the crowd are respectful and the security invisible, would gladly and warmly host the English next season.

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Responses

  1. I agree.

  2. “Hosting international cricket is a privilege not a right”…. very aptly put…. in south africa, during the lunch n tea breaks in the recent sa – eng series, the spectators used to take a stroll around the ground, inspect the pitch and even play their own cricket on the outfield…. if the crowd at a place is unable to behave in such an orderly manner, its better to fence them away completely from the playing area (like it happens in india)….

  3. Over at our Facebook Page Damien had this to say.

    As a West Aussie, I’d hate to lose our test match but sadly I agree there doesn’t seem to be another solution. It upsets me that too many people in WA who think drinking for 4 hours before attending a match, continuing to drink while there and acting like a moron is acceptable.

    Sadly it seems Dennis Lillee & Graham Wood have really dropped the ball in attempting to stamp this out after taking over :(

  4. It’s embarrasing. That odious smiling moron and the uselessly ineffective security. I can completely understand why these antics give a bad impression of my country to viewers from around the globe.

  5. That is a poor response. Only 500 bucks fine? It’s hardly likely to put people off pitch invading at the least and it should have been treated as assault.

    However, I always laugh at streakers. I know it is a 70’s timewarp, but if someone is still stupid enough to get their kit off, jump the fence and run about on the field, I’m stupid enough to laugh myself silly at them.Perhaps it’s because you can take the girl out of Freo, but you can’t etc, etc…

    Perhaps with the ICC getting involved the WACA will lose some international matches? Serve them right for employiing such bloody useless security.

    • It was treated as assault.

  6. Crowd misbehavior is a problem thrughout the cricket world. Even fencing doesnt stop them from throwing objects

  7. I’s so depressing to see the tall wire fences at some grounds in India. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
    Maybe employing fit security guards would be a good start. The guy in that photo could get a job as England’s physio.
    I agree Nesta completely about the seriousness of it, assaulting a player is as bad as it gets.
    So Lou is a girl! Hmm, that’ll teach me to make assumptions.

    • Should I not have said?

  8. As someone who was watching as the Hillsborough tragedy unfolded in England then I’m a firm believer that wire fences really should be a very last resort. 96 people died when crushed up against fences that surrounded the pitch at an FA Cup semi-final:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_Disaster

    This lead to all fencing being removed.

    I’m entirely with Nesta in that the way to stop it is to take away their opportunity to watch cricket. That and a couple of nights of sleeping in the nick if you do make it onto the ground.

    • I doubt we’ll ever see fences in Australia specifically because of that event. They might concrete the Hill in Perth though. Banning booze or just providing light stuff is the simplest solution. Obviously, those restrictions won’t apply for those that pay their fees to be Members!

  9. In his circle this dickhead will be viewed as a legend and that sort of yobbo mentality ain’t going to change anytime soon. So, unfortunately, the WACA must be held responsible.

    If Delhi is punished for a poor pitch then Perth deserve more than a slap on the wrist for what happened last night.

    It should be noted that he was only one of several that interrupted the match. It wasn’t an isolated incident which creates even more questions about player safety and security in Perth.

    I hear that the goose in the picture is appearing on a crass commercial radio station in the morning and I bet they treat him like royalty and have a good laugh about the whole incident.

    This has happened before in Perth with streakers and other clowns and their fleeting minor celebrity encourages others to do give it a go next year.

    I’m with Ricky. Make an example of him and if that isn’t possible because of the current law then the next logical step is to make an example of the WACA.

    I don’t really like it because the vast majority are very well behaved but to sweep it under the carpet isn’t going to change, what is, a problem that has been associated with the WACA for as long as I can remember.

    • I agree, if it is going to happen anywhere in Oz it will be at the WACA. Yokels.

      It would be a huge shock if the WACA lost international matches, but tradition should be overlooked in this case. Sometimes that is all that will work. Punter was right about walking off. It’s about guaranteeing the safety of the players and the WACA are not doing that. The Pakistan team were very civil about the situation.

  10. Though it would really, really hurt to see the WACA lose its test status, I agree with you Nesta.

  11. I’ve been to 3 matches at the WACA in the last 2+ yrs with 2 of them being internationals. The real problem I see is with the security that is being employed at the ground. Now I am not sure how it is done in other grounds around Australia but 90% of the security at the WACA is made up of immigrant students going to Uni in Perth with some old guys monitoring them. I’ve seen the security guys being harassed by the crowd and yet nothing is done with the guys ignoring their taunters and hecklers. WACA needs to spend more money in employing the right security guys.

  12. Nooooooooo!! Not my WACA!!

    The security guys on the friday night were fitter looking, but still, a streaker got on the pitch and failed to reach the inner circle more by dint of being unable to keep his feet from befouling each other than any great athleticism from the security team.

    The WACA administration are trying to get the fine raised but the administrator indicated it required a bit of legislating.

    But to hell with the fine, the drop kick is up on assault charges now, with plenty of camera footage to make it impossible to hide, and the pressure will be on with the judge to make it hurt.

    I’ve been to one of the Windies Test Matches and the ODI on Friday at the WACA this summer, and the Test Crowd, although no smaller than the ODI, was far better behaved… It was a midweek day though, I wonder if that is why?

  13. The mining boom is taking off again, and the cashed-up bogans are crawling out of the woodwork once more!

    As a Victorian recently returned from a 7-year stint in WA, I am going to resist the temptation to grin smugly at this manifestation of the worst of the great Western Land of Wait Awhile.

    Drunken clowns, fights among them in the crowds and general boorish behaviour occur just as often at other grounds. I guess “other grounds” are more worried about their image and employ better security. This is probably the point that makes WA unique, where most inhabitants believe they are in God’s own country, nothing ever needs to change, and how dare you people from the east lecture us and tell us what to do.

    • It’s true, that’s exactly what they do think! Or at least most of my family do.

      I read in the Age that fines for the other grounds are upwards of two grand. That’s more like it. Even pissed and/or ganjaed up you’d think twice about getting your kit off to be slapped with a fine for that amount.

      • I saw a list of fines for each ground on telly last night. From memory they were:

        Adelaide $200 – I’m astounded at this figure and yet I can’t remember too many incidents in the City of Churches.

        Brisbane $4000

        Sydney $5500

        Melbourne $7000 – Usually a bit of roughing up too as the Police have a presence on the playing surface at the MCG.

        Bellerive – $6000 – Something I never knew but then again in a decade of regular attendance I’ve never seen anyone invade the field.

        Perth – $500 – And a sympathetic quarter hour on commercial radio like an evicted Big Brother contestant.

        • Well, the WACA administrator is calling for the State Gov to pass legislation to let them drop a $10k hammer on anyone stepping out onto the pitch…

          As for Adelaide, the paucity may have something to do with it’s other sobriquet as the City of Corpses………………………………….

        • One reason it is hard to tell how many people are running onto the ground is that they stopped showing pitch invaders on the tv about 10-15 years ago. The only give-away is extra long ad-breaks, light-hearted discussions amongst a small group of players, or landscape shots from outside the ground.

          I do recall though, back when the MCG fine was in the hundreds (so mid-90s) that they were getting upwards of two dozen people running onto the ground at ODI games. The jump in fines has made a big big difference, though you still get one or two.

          T20 is a better game for the mob: less chance to get drunk, less sitting in the sun for hours, fewer moments of boring inaction during the game.

  14. Forget about fines if you plead poverty the judge lets you pay it off in small installments. Life bans are useless too. They are easily avoided by a cap and sunglasses.

    Better to make it compulsory that any person entering the playing surface during the match gets tasered. No exceptions.

    Not only will it be a deterrent it will make great entertainment for the rest of us.

  15. I can approve of tasering.

    Security guards streaming across the pitch, taser wires flying every which way…

    WoE betide the first guard to miss and hit Mr Australian Fast Bowler at Third Man though. Mind you, thankfully all that stupid usually comes out of West Bank Grassed Area anyway.

  16. Nesta

    Why don’t they ban alcohol in the ground and increase the fines, if they can’t put a fence around the ground.

  17. If this particular stadium has a long history of such problems then probably fencing the ground is the only solution.

  18. Forget the calls for banning the WACA. I cannot see why we cannot remove Western Australia from the commonwealth entirely. I mean now would be a great time, while they have a few bits and pieces in the ground they can sell to set them on their way as an independent county. The place is big enough after all. I’m sure if put to the vote it would easily become only the second referendum to be passed in Australia’s short history.

    • Don’t encourage their secessionist tendencies. The West Aussies would be the first to vote for that referendum.

      It would be like New Zealand on the West Coast. Double the chippiness.

      And I don’t want to have to apply for a visa to visit friends in the Eastern States when I am back in Perth

  19. Can we have David Hussey for the ODIs and T20 and lots of others too?

  20. A bit harsh to ban a venue because of one idiot. Can’t agree at all.

    They replayed the Terry Alderman incident the other night and his attackers looked like early 80’s skinheads to me. I couldn’t see any blue singlets.

    The racial abuse incident a few years back was in Afrikaans wasn’t it? Not a common language among the bogan subculture in Perth I would have thought.

    Anyway what surprised me was that the security guard didn’t call out to Latif to warn him of the oncoming galoot. Perhaps he was too puffed.

    My solution: Bring in a wireless alert system for the players and beef up the physical training program for the security guys. Leeave it at that.

    Off topic Pakistan were $2.80 for tonights game, I thought about but didn’t make it to the TAB, dammit.

    • Always worth backing Pakistan in a T20 against anyone.

      Point taken re the ban Lev – but a year or two off the circuit would concentrate minds I feel. It’ll be interesting to see the level of security for Pak vs Aus here in July. The Pak fans will be very boisterous, almost always in good humour, but you can never rule out the odd idiot, even at those prices. But it’s very infrequent that there are invasions of the playing area and I can’t recall one confrontation with a player.

      • I wish I was your Bookie, Tooting.

        I admit to having that same wish many many times……….

  21. Pakistan is under a run a ball to win with 6 wkts in hand, should be a doddle. I should have made the effort.

    I think the criticism will be enough for the WACA to lift their game, banning is over the top. Brisbane had an incident a while back (think Symonds flattening a streaker) so its not just Perth, it can happen anywhere.

  22. You’d have done your money, Lev. I never , never discount AU even when they are up against the wall with their noses pressed to the brick. It was , of course, winnable by Pakistan. Mightily so, and , hard to believe, but they got into a position of needing 7 runs off the last ball. Now, I ask you. .. how is that possible?

    AU made fielding errors, they made batting errors, Steve Smith, whom I adore, was expensive.. .I ask again, how in the name of St.Shane could any team get to the last ball needing 7 runs to win.

    On to the West Indies on Sunday, thank God Almighty, because I am getting to feel AU is invincible, straight wins in a Test series, straight wins in an ODI series, and now the T20,, always a dangerous area

    • Very dangerous, Pepp, The Windies aren’t afraid of the Aussies so it should be quite a different series with different cards in the hands.

      Lord, Tait was quick. Three bowlers all hitting 150+ is some pace attack.

  23. That pitch was like a trampoline, and seeing Tait was … wow …

    Also, Jim Davis, Lou is right. I’m West Aussie and I have a secessionist streak a mile wide ): But do it anyway, we’d get to turn Adelaide into a kind of disputed Kashmir and wouldn’t that be fun?

    I wonder if we could ally PNG and NZ, work up some encirclement on you dangerous Indian-student-killers and Cronulla-Race-Rioters. Decent odds, I think :)

    j/k

    I liked the post match with Tait. “Did you know you bowled the fastest ball ever recorded in Australia?”

    “Uhh, no I didn’t…”

  24. How I had missed that slow and stately Tait walk back to the bowlers end. The quick spit, the measured pace, the inscrutable face. Then the slow turn like a statue on a plinth and the run up, then that invisible power, a quick grin and the same slow lumbering yet graceful stroll back.

    I missed you heaps, Tait. I really never thought I would see him play again, so the thrill was exquisite. I may never see him play again , Tait being Tait, but gee, it was a terrific jolt.

    I was as thrilled with Mitch’s run out, he actually did it backwards.

  25. I mean Mitch’s fielding runout, not he, himself being runout.

    He was like a cobra.

  26. Well, considering it’s not really cricket, there was alot there to like today. Yep, MJ’s runout was pretty good, to put it mildly.
    Another Hussey plays the role. Were there three of them? A cousin?
    Tait breaking speed records and looking as flustered as a wet rag. I like the combination of ideas of a demon fast bowler who takes stress leave; one of the fastest bowlers in the world, who trudges around like a bricklayer.
    I like that Australia didn’t stop attacking.
    Seeing Smith come in and do ok was great.
    Pakistan had only to stroll it in. In a way, I’m happy they didn’t, they don’t deserve any consolation after this summer, it’s better they go home totally depressed and then see what comes of that, rather than find some comfort from winning a tip and giggle.
    The east coast cappuccino set can dream all they like about succession and banning the WACA, but it’s too intrinsically linked with Australian cricket for that to happen. Better security and some public campaigns will sort it out soon enough. People in WA used to drink drive too (I know that may come as s shock to the eastern sophisticates) but they don’t now (so much).
    The only upside would be seeing more cricket in Hobart, and I’d be happy about that.


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