Ballance faces ban, hefty fine for racist language

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By Sports Reporter

FORMER Zimbabwe and England batsman Gary Ballance should be banned from cricket for eight weeks and pay an £8,000 fine for his use of racist language according to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The governing body for cricket in England recommended sanctions on the six former players found guilty of using racist language and bringing the game into disrepute. Ballance will face the stiffest penalty in a total of £37,000 worth of fines.

Ex-England international Ballance, who subsequently played for his native Zimbabwe, had admitted to using racist language before the London hearing.

The former batsman recently retired from playing professional cricket so the ban may not have an impact unless he decides to return in the near future.

The ECB said Ballance, who retired from cricket last month, should be fined £8,000 and requested an eight-week suspension.

The ECB took into account the fact the 33-year-old had admitted the charge, and apologised, as it gave its recommendations to the panel.

“We understand there has been a significant impact on Mr Ballance’s mental health, and that in April 2023, Mr Ballance announced his retirement from professional cricket,” said ECB lawyer Jane Mulcahy.

“So the ECB therefore suggests there be a reprimand, and Mr Ballance be fined £8,000, reduced from £12,500 to take in effect of his admissions.”

The ECB also recommended the former Test batter attend a racism and discrimination course.

Ballance’s lawyer, Craig Harris, argued the financial penalty should be reduced due to the cost of being involved in the proceedings — he lost his job as a player at Yorkshire, lost a sponsorship contract, and was not considered for England selection.

Harris also pointed to the established culture in the Yorkshire dressing room, including widespread use of a racial slur, and said Zimbabwe-born Ballance was himself the subject of discriminatory remarks.

He said: “This is not a case where Mr Ballance says the words were not discriminatory, or that he has some sort of intellectual deficit. It is accepted he ought to have known better.

“But they (rules) were breached by someone living and playing within a culture in which the use of such language had become normalised.”

The ECB recommended a range of punishments for the five other players facing charges, including fines and suspensions.