Old Trafford air space shut for India-NZ match

ECB acts on BCCI’s objection

The Old Trafford stadium has been made a No Fly Zone for the semi-final match between India and New Zealand today (Tuesday). The action was prompted by a private plane displaying anti-India banners during the team’s league encounter against Sri Lanka in Headingley last week.

The decision was taken by the local authorities in Manchester following the meetings between the England and Wales Cricket Board, the ECB had informed the BCCI before the start of the match.

“We had clearly stated about the breach of security and also raised concerns about the security of our players. Accordingly, ECB has sent a confirmation to CEO Rahul Johri that Old Trafford air space has been turned into a ‘No Fly Zone’ for the day,” PTI has reported an anonymous BCCI official as saying.

On Saturday, an unnamed private aircraft had flown from Bradford zone with banners like “India stop Mob Lynching” and “Justice for Kashmir” over the Headingley air space on a number of occasions during the India-Sri Lanka match.

This had left ICC embarrassed as it was the second such breach of security after another aircraft flew with the banner “Justice For Balochistan” during the game between Afghanistan and Pakistan. A number of fans were evicted after a brawl inside the stadium premises, which is believed to have been triggered by the banner’s display.

Despite assurances from West Yorkshire Police that such political slogans will not be allowed as they violate ICC’s code, there was no significant action which forced the global body to express disappointment.

It is learned that there is no restriction on private aircraft being hired for publicity purpose. Bradford is a Pakistani-dominated region.