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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF... Cricket

1 October 2006

Cricket Australia - the governing body of cricket, in Australia - has this week decreed that it’s perfectly fine if Australian cricket fans want to refer to English cricket fans as 'Poms’, just so long as they do so 'affectionately’. Don’t be fooled by those quotation marks however. No one used the word 'affectionately’. What they actually said was that the word can be, but not in the context of anything 'hurtful, racist, offensive or humiliating’. Well, that seems fair. Almost to the point of dinkum... apart from one small thing.

It’s utter balls.

If you’re limiting sporting abuse to someone’s interpretation of 'hurtful' and 'offensive', every sports spectator at every sporting event on the planet will have to be gagged at the turnstiles. Or better still, have their tongues ripped from their barbaric heads. In this particular case, Australians will be barred therefore from shouting 'useless Pommy cunts’, 'hopeless Pommy arseholes’ or even the perennial 'Pommy bastards’, with or without supporting disparaging adjective. All they will be left with in fact, to be absolutely sure of avoiding offence, is 'bloody Pom’, 'great Pom’ or 'bloody great Pom’. And even that, with a particularly aggressive tone, could be quite hurtful.

Meanwhile the English fans - unshackled by nought but the most basic anti-incitement laws - will content themselves with throwing bottles. We jest, of course. Cricket fans are notoriously well-behaved, spending most of each game in a state of mildly intoxicated mental and physical torpor. In fact, until now it was only the occasional cries of potty-mouthed Aussies that stopped most of them slipping into a coma.

So, well played, Cricket Australia. You've achieved the frighteningly improbably. You've just made cricket even more boring. You great galahs.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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