Benaud to hear Gibbs appeal
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:South Australia v New South Wales
Player:R Benaud, HH Gibbs, PL Harris, BC Broad
Event:Pakistan in South Africa 2006/07

DateLine: 20th January 2007


Richie Benaud will hear Herschelle Gibbs's appeal against a two Test match-ban imposed upon the South Africa batsman for "racially offensive" comments during the first Test against Pakistan, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Thursday. The date for the appeal, which will take place via teleconference, is still to be confirmed but it is expected to be held between the second and third Tests of the ongoing series. Gibbs is free to play in any match scheduled to start before the announcement of former Australia captain Benaud's decision and the ICC said this meant he was available for Friday's start of the second Test in Port Eliazbeth. The third Test in Cape Town is due to start on January 26. Since his retirement as a player in the 1960s, Benaud has become known to cricket fans around the world as one of cricket's leading broadcasters. He is also one of the longest-serving members of the Code of Conduct commission. Benaud, as an Appeals Commissioner, has seven days to hear and determine Gibbs's case and his decision is final and binding. Gibbs was found guilty of a Level 3 offence under the clause of the code clause which prohibits using "any language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, colour, descent or national or ethic origin." The charge, laid by ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, relates to an incident that took place shortly before the lunch interval on Sunday, the fourth day of the match, when Gibbs's comments regarding Pakistan supporters were overheard through a stump microphone on the ground. At a hearing conducted by match referee Chris Broad after the Test, which South Africa won by seven wickets, Gibbs apologized for his remarks but pleaded not guilty to the ICC charge. The Gibbs affair has been front page news in South Africa where a poll in The Star newspaper found that 78 percent of people felt Gibbs's ban was unjustified and only 22 percent thought it was fair. The SA Cricketers' Association has leant its full support to Gibbs. Chief executive Tony Irish said: "It is not appropriate for us to deal publicly at this stage with the merits of the appeal before the ICC." Conflicting reports of the incidents which led to Gibbs's remarks have been published in South African newspapers. The three spectators who were moved from seats near the boundary after allegedly swearing at bowler Paul Harris, claim Harris swore at them. But other spectators say the Pakistani supporters were abusive and made watching the game unpleasant for people sitting near them.