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Racism slurs hit cricket championships in Malaga: 'The players have been hurt; they are Spanish'
Cricket

Racism slurs hit cricket championships in Malaga: 'The players have been hurt; they are Spanish'

The president of the Spanish Cricket Association has spoken out after racial comments were made towards the players when a video surfaced online showing them singing the national anthem

Marina Rivas

Malaga

Tuesday, 10 October 2023, 09:47

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The players of Spain's national cricket team have "had a hard time" after racist comments were directed at them online, the president of the Spanish Cricket Association says.

The controversy started after a video of the Spanish team was uploaded on the X social media platform which showed the playing of the national anthem, and some of the players' hands on their hearts. There were many racial slurs condemning them and their origins as many of the players on the Spanish team have roots in Pakistan, India and the United Kingdom.

The racial slurs have dominated headlines in recent days, instead of Spain's win in the group stage, qualifying them for the finals of the European Cricket Championships at Cártama Oval in the Malaga province.

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"We've had a hard time, because they are Spanish, but aren't there other nationalities or dual nationalities playing in other national teams? Why does a minority sport have to go through this?", said the president of the Spanish Cricket Association, Juan Carlos Rodríguez. "The players have had a very hard time. They want to play the sport they love and defend their shield," he told SUR.

Incompatible

Rodríguez pointed out that many of the players won't be able to compete in the finals as cricket is not an official sport in Spain, and so they cannot take enough time away from their day jobs. "We have a big problem now. Half of them can't come back for the final, because they have their jobs and their bosses won't let them come or close their businesses for five days, so we'll go with a different team," he said.

"That's the thing about an amateur sport, it doesn't make any money. And the fact is that they all play for passion, as a hobby, but they don't earn a single euro for it, they are taxi drivers, bricklayers, students, self-employed people responsible for their own businesses," Rodríguez added. "It's a shame that we have to talk about this and not about sport, so that Spaniards can learn about the sport we love."

Also absent is the captain of the team, Christian Muñoz, who is recovering from a knee injury. The Alicante-born cricketer has worn the armband of the Spanish team for nine years and was deeply critical of the racial slurs. "People often speak without knowing. Some of them have lost their jobs because they went to play for Spain, so it hurts them when people say things like that. They were either born here or have been here for more years than in India, Pakistan, England or wherever... They are Spanish," he said.

Visibility

"At first it was annoying, but in the end, it was good for us, because it has given much more exposure to cricket, which is what we want to achieve. The fact that it has been because of that and not because of the success we have achieved bothers us, we are shocked to see this everywhere, but it hasn't affected the players as such because we know that there are many other people who support us," Muñoz said.

The captain pointed out that the team is on a mission for cricket to get further exposure so it is eventually deemed an official sport in the country. "We're going to carry on. What we want is for cricket to grow, for us to have a Federation, and to be able to introduce it in schools, so that it becomes better known," he said.

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