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Undercover spotters to be deployed at Edgbaston in bid to combat racist abuse

A number of fans reported abuse during England’s recent Test match with India at Edgbaston (Mike Egerton/PA)
A number of fans reported abuse during England’s recent Test match with India at Edgbaston (Mike Egerton/PA)

Cricket chiefs will send undercover spotters into the Edgbaston crowd at Saturday’s Twenty20 clash between England and India in renewed efforts to combat racist abuse.

Warwickshire have announced a slew of new measures in a bid to stamp out racism at Edgbaston, after a number of fans reported abuse during England’s recent Test match with India.

Police have launched an investigation into the allegations on day four of five in England’s seven-wicket win that came to a stunning climax on July 5.

“Undercover football crowd-style spotters will be placed throughout the stadium to listen out for abusive behaviour and report it for immediate action,” read a Warwickshire statement.

Chief executive Stuart Cain admitted Warwickshire must offer swift action in response to the Test incidents.

“Nearly 100,000 people watched one of the most exciting Test matches in recent history earlier this week,” said Cain. “But we cannot hide from the mindless racist abuse experienced by some fans following India in the Eric Hollies Stand.

“These unacceptable actions by a small number of people have overshadowed a superb sporting contest, and those responsible do not deserve to be part of the cricket family.

“We need to work harder as people, as well as a venue, to take responsibility for ensuring that everyone feels safe and welcome when watching the game.”

England Test captain Ben Stokes was disappointed to hear the reports of racist abuse in Birmingham.

He tweeted: “Amazing week on the pitch but really disappointed to hear reports of racist abuse at Edgbaston.

“Absolutely no place for it in the game. Hope all the fans at the white-ball series have a brilliant time and create a party atmosphere. That’s what cricket’s about!!”