ICC charge Khawaja over first Test armband protest


Usman Khawaja has been hit with a reprimand from the International Cricket Council, after his black armband in protest of the ongoing violence in Israel and Palestine was deemed a breach of the sporting body’s rules.

After being informed by the ICC that his original message – slogans ‘All lives are equal’ and ‘Freedom is a human right’ on his shoes – were prohibited and he would not be permitted to take the field during the first Test against Pakistan were he to wear them, Khawaja instead chose to don the armband in support of civilians in Gaza.

However, the ICC have confirmed that too was a breach given he wore the armband without prior approval, handing the 37-year old an official warning and reprimand, and ensuring Khawaja will need to risk further sanction in order to repeat the protest during the Boxing Day Test.

“Usman Khawaja has been charged for breaching Clause F of the Clothing and Equipment Regulations, which can be found on the ICC Playing Conditions page. The sanctions for a breach of the regulations are outlined in Appendix 2,” an ICC spokesperson said in a statement.

“Usman displayed a personal message (arm band) during the 1st 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 is a breach under the category of an “other breach” and the sanction for a first offence is a reprimand.”

Usman Khawaja was given a reprimand for wearing a black armband to protest the violence in Gaza throughout the first Test against Pakistan. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Under ICC rules, players are prohibited from wearing messages on attire in regard to a ‘political, religious or racial cause’.

“By way of example only, and without limitation, where the purpose of a message appears to be commemorative in nature (e.g. the use of a black armband or a poppy) or to serve a charitable purpose (e.g. to generate funds or awareness for a non-political charitable cause), it is more likely to be permitted; where a message appears to indicate support for a particular government, political party or individual, it is more likely to be prohibited. Where a request for approval is submitted to the ICC, the ICC shall be entitled to request such further information as it considers necessary before making its decision and to impose such conditions as it sees fit in providing its approval (as applicable),” the official regulations read.

Sports opinion delivered daily 


Famously, Zimbabwean greats Henry Olonga and Andy Flower wore black armbands to commemorate ‘the death of democracy in our beloved Zimbabwe’ during the 2023 World Cup, but were not sanctioned by the ICC despite being found to be in breach of the rules.

Khawaja has already hit out at the ICC’s ruling against the messages on his shoes, saying before play in Perth that he was ‘just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice’.

“Let’s be honest about it. If me saying ‘all lives are equal’ has resulted in people being offended to the point where they are calling me up and telling me off, well isn’t that the bigger problem?” Khawaja said in an interview with Channel 7.

“These people obviously don’t believe in what I’ve written. And it’s not just a handful of people. You’d be shocked about how many feel this way.

“What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political. I’m not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life, and so on.

????️ “There’s already been precedent set in the past that ICC have allowed…

“So I find it a bit unfair that they’ve come down on me at this point in time where there’s definitely been precedent in the past.

– Usman Khawaja to @alisonmitchell #AUSvPAK pic.twitter.com/T9LLP3ufpr

— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 14, 2023

“I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice. This is close to my heart. When I see thousands of innocent children dying without any repercussions or remorse, I imagine my two girls. What if this was them?

“The ICC have told me that I can’t wear my shoes on the field because they believe it’s a political statement under their guidelines. I don’t believe it is so. It’s a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view, and their decision but I will fight it and seek to gain approval. Freedom is a human right, and all lives are equal. I will never stop believing that, whether you agree with me or not.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.