Cricket Australia (CA) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) want fans not to participate in a campaign on social networking site - Facebook - allegedly inciting Aussie supporters to 'attack' England fast bowler Stuart Broad during the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Australian supporters on the social networking site have vowed to 'tackle' Broad at the MCG if they get 100,000 likes on their Facebook page. Fans have promised to throw either a beer can or meat pie on Broad. Broad has earned the wrath of Australians after he refused to walk in the Trent Bridge Test earlier this year. Australia lost the series 3-0.
Before the start of the return Ashes, Australia coach Darren Lehmann accused the 27-year-old Broad of "blatant cheating" for refusing to walk in the Trent Bridge Test and urged home fans to target the England fast bowler. Lehmann was fined by the ICC for his comments.
Perturbed by the Facebook page, CA has issued a statement on Saturday saying offenders will be subjected to criminal charges. "Cricket Australia takes this issue seriously and will not tolerate anti-social behaviour, or anyone encouraging it, at any cricket match. We've been in contact with Facebook to request the specific page be removed and will be passing on all available information to the relevant authorities," CA said.
"Anyone considering acting in this way is not welcome and offenders will be subject to criminal charges and fines at all venues," the statement added.
ECB has also taken the matter seriously and is keen on the safety of its players. "The ECB deplores any threats made towards any player and would urge Facebook to accede to Cricket Australia's request to remove the offending and offensive page. There is no place in cricket for the incitement to violence of any form," ECB said in a statement.
Earlier this week, an Australian fan was caught smuggling in a pig in an apparent bid to taunt the England players during the ongoing Test in Brisbane. Security officials nabbed he spectator and booked him for animal cruelty.