Political banner is voted out

The Melbourne Cricket Club has defended its decision to pull down a banner criticising the Howard Government's Pacific solution policy from the MCG stands yesterday, saying the sign was "inappropriate and irrelevant".

The banner, placed high in the Olympic stand next to the scoreboard by a fan, read: "Nauru detention - just isn't cricket", referring to the detainment of asylum seekers on the Pacific island.

MCC secretary Stephen Gough ordered it down as soon as he saw it.

"We are happy for cricket-related things to go up, but it wasn't cricket. It isn't about whether it's a political message or not, it's irrelevant and inappropriate for the cricket,"Gough said.

The banner also exceeded size limitations, Gough said, as it was slightly longer than the 1.8 metres allowed. The rules also state that a banner cannot clash with or cover existing signs.

But Gough conceded there were no such guidelines as to what messages could be written on the banners.

"It is up to the ground manager to make a call on what is appropriate and I deemed that to be inappropriate. We don't mind if people hang their slogans, but it has to be about the cricket,"he said.

Earlier this year, at least two signs were confiscated at the Kangaroos versus Adelaide AFL match, including one saying: 'Carey I (love) your wife'. It was Crow Wayne Carey's first match against his former team.

The AFL warned players in March against using matches to make political statements after Western Bulldogs midfielder Robert Murphy had attracted controversy by wearing a "No War"slogan on his arm while posing for the club photograph.

The Age
Political banner is voted out
By Nabila Ahmed
December 29, 2003

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