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World Cup 2022: British officers sent to the tournament will act as ‘buffers’ between fans and local police



British police officers deployed in Qatar for the World Cup will act as “cultural interpreters” between fans and local law enforcement, says Chief Constable Mark Roberts.Roberts, the national lead on football policing, said British police are not there to tell fans how to behave.

“The focus is to try and prevent unfortunate misunderstandings where fans inadvertently cause offence,” he said.

The World Cup starts on 20 November.Those “unfortunate misunderstandings” could stem from fans drinking alcohol, taking shirts off, waving flags, gathering in large numbers and other stereotypes that come with football fan culture.The UK police delegation includes a team of 15 engagement officers, who will act as a “buffer” between supporters and Qatari law enforcement.

“We’re really keen that the British officers who go are a buffer and cultural interpreter so that we can have the first conversation with our fans before anyone else is deployed,” added Roberts.

“Their primary focus is to liaise with the supporters and the police forces just to say ‘look we’re not saying you’re wrong, but it’s causing offence so you might want to moderate your behaviour before anyone else has to intervene’.”

Around 3,000 to 4,000 England fans are expected to travel to Qatar for the group stages, with numbers set to increase should Gareth Southgate’s side reach the knockout stages. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Wales fans also expected to fly out to the tournament, which concludes on 18 December.

“We’re not there to tell people how to behave, we don’t have powers, we’re not there to enforce local laws,” Roberts said.

“What we are there to do is have a conversation with supporters. We’re not going to lecture the fans on their behaviour – the advice would be to be a good guest.

“Our officers are there and if we do think there’s any problems we’ll look to intervene at a lower level and make sure that everyone stays safe.

A “significant” number of UK police officers will be on the ground acting as spotters to gather information to feed back to the Qatari commanders and act as community officers to support fans.

Turkey will send more than 3,000 riot police to Qatar as part of the security operation for the tournament. There will also be 100 special operations police sent from Turkey to Qatar, along with 50 bomb specialists and 80 sniffer dogs and riot dogs.Last month Pakistan’s cabinet approved a draft agreement allowing the government to offer troops for security at the tournament. It did not say how many personnel would be sent, and neither country has said that a final agreement has been reached.

“There may be perceptions on the part of the Qatari police or the supporting Turkish police, or any of the other agencies, about what supporters are doing,” added Roberts.

“Just because people are noisy, bouncing up and down and chanting in a different language does not mean they’re being aggressive.”

Statistics provided by the police show there were three arrests among more than 5,000 England fans who travelled to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, 15 arrests four years earlier in Brazil where more than 9,000 fans travelled, and seven arrests from more than 14,000 fans at South Africa in 2010.

Roberts said: “You can see from the stats of previous World Cups, when people have to go to that effort and expense to get there, generally fans are going to go, watch the games and enjoy them.”

The Fifa event will be taking place in a Muslim country in the Middle East for the first time, and the consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Islam.Fans will only be permitted to drink in the designated fan areas, one of which is a fan park which can hold up to 40,000 people and will show matches on big screens.

The other is a paid ticket event with DJ’s which may not attract fans in numbers as the cheapest tickets are said to start from £75.Ashley Brown from the Football Supporters Association (FSA) said many fans have been “priced out” of the World Cup with concerns also around the lack of accommodation available to supporters.

“There’s a combination of reasons why people are being deterred,” Brown said.

“For a lot of people Qatar doesn’t sound like an exciting place to go, it’s not a typical holiday destination, lack of alcohol availability, cost of getting there, cost when you’re there, it’s put a lot of people off.”

The World Cup is expected to attract more than one million visitors, but by March Qatar only had 30,000 hotel rooms, 80% of which had already been booked by Fifa for football teams, officials, and sponsors.

Organisers are offering shared rooms in empty apartments, villas, fan villages and traditional-style tents in the desert with two cruise ships being converted into floating hotels that will be moored at Doha’s port.Some fans are even opting to travel in from neighbouring Emirates country Dubai.Another point of contention for travelling fans has been the fact that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar and many gay fans have opted to boycott the tournament.

“It’s very sad,” said Brown. “Three Lions Pride who represent that community as travelling England fans – I don’t think any are going.

“They don’t feel safe, they don’t feel comfortable and they don’t feel reassured and that is incredibly disappointing that Fifa can put a tournament in a country that won’t welcome those people.”

(BBC Sports)

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Straight bats and brickbats



Rex Clementine at Pallekele

People who never in their lives played with a straight bat want us to embrace ethics. Sportsmen all over the world are taught to maintain ethical behaviour although there have been few exceptions.

Australians play sport so tough that they hate losing. They are friendly people but they suffer from what people call ‘white line fever’. That means once they cross the boundary rope, they are a different beast. Certain eastern European countries are accused of providing dope to their athletes in a bid to win medals at showpiece events like the Olympics. At home, we have the classic example of Fr. Trevor Martin of St. Peter’s who adopted a win at any cost culture that prompted some to comment that Fr. Le Goc, a French Missionary and the founder Rector of St. Peter’s, must be spinning in his grave.

Sports teach you more things than winning. It teaches you to remain grounded. It inculcates the virtues of patience and perseverance. It helps you to build an attitude of hanging in there. It reminds you to be gracious in defeat and humble in victory. These are lessons that will stand you in good stead in life where you meet success and failures to a good share.

Those who have not played the sport in the right way when they were young are the ones who play spoil sport when they grow up. For example, we have a person who thought that carrying the captain’s bag would earn him a place in the side rather than talent alone. Eventually, he ended up playing more games than the wickets he took. Now he is talking of ethics in sport.

The same person plotted a bloodless coup to bring down Ashantha de Mel, who in his twin role as Manager cum Chairman of Selectors had to leave sooner than he was supposed to.

Then having ousted de Mel, the straight bat sought political intervention to get to the powerful position. General Shavendra Silva who had the final say in nominating people to sports bodies vehemently opposed. However, there was too much political pressure to ignore Mr. Straight Bat.

You may not have agreed with Ashantha all the time, but he had one virtue that is to explain his decisions and his expectations. When his methods didn’t work, he was the first one to owe up to his mistakes.

De Mel had little idea that men in his own committee were leaking information. Now the same men who adopted underarm tactics to seize power are preaching about straight bats.

The only thing they know in life and sports are brickbats and if they have got no skeletons to hide let them come openly and explain their decisions. Their flawed policies may have cost Sri Lanka automatic qualification for the next year’s World Cup. Let them be held accountable.

The same people who boast about the Asia Cup win and being ranked third in the Test championship have conveniently forgotten that under their watch Sri Lanka lost Mohali and Bangalore Tests inside three days. A nation’s reputation was ruined because they didn’t follow the simple rule that an injured player needs to return home without fiddling around dating apps. Having compromised on discipline and fitness, now they are washing their hands off without taking responsibility. Of course, you can talk discipline only with people who have discipline in their lifestyles. Not the ones who assault board officials who are your father’s age. Certainly not from those who cut acres of pristine forest land for banana cultivation or defraud government institutions by going against the tender process.

Cricket more than any other sport, reminds us of fair play and being above board. When people without an iota of self-respect are at the helm what more can we expect.

The same individual ran a campaign against the administration a few years ago with a newly formed body called Cricketers’ Association. He couldn’t win a cricket election so he came through an interim committee promising to look after the retired cricketers, a pension scheme for players, decent salaries for players and much more. Once he got power, all his pledges were forgotten and instead he was at daggers’ drawn with the players themselves.

The Cricketers’ Association was used as cat’s paw to gain power. Once they got the power the body ceased to exist. There’s no active cricketers’ association at present and many are the senior cricketers who have got to go around with the begging bowl to look after their medication and other needs.

Biting off the hand that once fed them is nothing new to these new rich. Their memories of Tichborne Lane have faded fast.

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BRC emerge champions at Malay CC Sixes



Cup Champions BRC

BRC defeated surprise finalists Colombo Malay Cricket Club (CMCC) by five wickets in the Cup final at the Invitation six-a-side cricket tournament to celebrate CMCC’s 150th anniversary at the MCA ground on Saturday.

Governors’ Trophy winners Malay CC were restricted to 44 for four in five overs. BRC romped to 50 without loss in just 2.3 overs with TM Sampath unbeaten on 42.

Sampath went on to bag the Best Batsman’s prize while Danal Hamananda also of BRC took the Best Bowler’s award.

Malay CC had a dream run to the final defeating CCC in their opening match scoring 61 without loss and 78 for three to beat Colts in the semi-final. However, they could not repeat their heroics in the final against some accurate bowling from BRC.

There were many good hits over the ropes that thrilled the sparse crowd and many cricket balls that were sent well past the boundary were lost.

Avishka Perera of Colts too made some big hits and hit an unbeaten 50 off just 20 balls in a losing cause against Malay CC in the Cup semi-final.

The victorious BRC team comprised TM Sampath, Dushan Hemantha, Lahiru Samarakoon, Leo Francisco, Danal Hemananda, Resansora Silva, Malinda Jayod and Dulaj Ashen.

Meanwhile, SSC clinched the Plate title when they beat Moors SC by five wickets in the final.

Moors SC scored 66 for four and SSC notched up the winning runs in four overs scoring 68 without loss with Krishan Sanjula cracking 37 and Shevon Daniel 16.

Cup runners-up CMCC


First round

SSC 83/1

(Shevon Daniel 19, Nipun Dananjaya 28, Krishan Sanjula 22) lost to Colts CC 84/1 (Shalin de Mel 62)

Malay CC 61/0

(Mangala Pradeep 39) beat CCC 58/4 (Pawan Pathiraja 19, Manidu Shyamal 2/09)

Tamil Union 59/5

(Sachith Pathirana 30, Dushan Hemantha 2/2) lost to BRC 62/4 (Danal Hemananda 29, Ravindu Fernando 2/14)

Moors SC 58/5

(Sohan de Livera 13, Asel Sigera 2/5) lost to NCC 59/2 (Asel Sigera 23)

Plate Semi-finals

CCC 50/5

(Pavan Ratnayake 23, Keshan Wijeratne 2/5) lost to SSC 53/3 (Vinushka Silva 2/10)

CMCC Cricket Secretary Thassim Junkeer presenting the Best Batsman award to TM Sampath of BRC.

Moors SC 90/1

(Dinuka Dilshan 38) beat Tamil Union 63/3 (Ravindu Fernando 33, Dinuka Dilshan 2/9)

Plate Final

Moors 66/4

(Thilan Loransu 14, Kalana Perera 2/3) lost to SSC 68/0 (Krishan Sanjula 37)

Cup Semi-finals

Malay CC 78/3

(Kalana Madushanka 35, Niman Umesh 21) beat Colts CC 70/2 (Avishka Perera 50, Mangala Pradeep 2/7)

NCC 80/3

(Asel Sigera 35, Danal Hemananda 2/5) lost to BRC 83/0 (TM Sampath 41 no)

Cup Final

Malay CC 44/4

(Mangala Pradeep 14) lost to BRC 50/0 (TM Sampath 42)

Special Awards:

Best Batsman –

TM Sampath (BRC)

Best Bowler –

Danal Hemananda (BRC)

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Mahinda battle against unbeaten Petes for final spot



Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ Cricket

Unbeaten St. Peter’s will encounter Mahinda in the top semi-final of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ cricket tournament at Thurstan College ground today.

St. Peter’s, eliminated Mahinda in the quarter-final on their way to winning the title last season. The team from Galle will be eager to make amends against a team looking to extend their unbeaten run to the final.

Captained by Nimuthu Gunawardana, St. Peter’s earned a hard fought ten runs victory in the quarter-final. That was after their batsmen failed to impress against Devapathiraja. The Petes could post just 122 runs in the quarter-final which was played as a 27 overs a side affair.

In contrast, Mahinda registered comprehensive seven wickets win after rattling St. Servatius’ for 100 runs. They were the runners up to Maris Stella in their group in the first round. The team captained by Dhanuja Induwara had six victories in eight outings at the end of the first round.

St. Peter’s were the champions in their group after having registered eight victories during the first round.


St. Peter’s (from):

Nimuthu Gunawardana (Captain), Sanshay Gunatilake, Vishen Halambage, Oween Salgado, Rusanda Gamage, Shennon Rodrigo, Kavika Jayasundara, Lashmika Perera, Nathen David, Lakindu Sachin, Sean Robert, Ishira Ayupala, Dilana Damsara, Salith Gallage, Nitesh Fernando, Rithil Suraweera, Anupa Garumanne, Chamindu Perera.


Shanaka Fernando (Head Coach), Manjuka Perera (Asst. Coach), Sunanda Fernando (Master in Charge)

Mahinda (from):

Dhanuja Induwara (Captain), Dinura Kalupahana (Vice Captain), Hiruna Gallage, Ranmina Hettiarachchi, Hareen Achintha, Tharushan Dilshan, Chandupa de Silva, Shehan Hasaranga, Kaveen Rukshan, Pramesh Madubhashana, Dulana Rajapaksha, Ranindu Nimsara, Arosha Udayanga, Deneth Kaushalya, Pasindu Lakshan, Senuka Dangamuwa, Ninura Deelaka, Kaveesha Gimsara, Vinupa Nethmira, Sahanjith Samadith.


M.M. Tharanga (Head Coach), Sulalith Shamendra (Asst. Coach), Y. Nishantha Kumara (Master in Charge).

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