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 Saturday, 18 January, 2003, 02:11 GMT
Lehmann banned for five games
Lehmann leaves the hearing in Adelaide
Lehmann could serve his ban before the World Cup
Australia batsman Darren Lehmann has been banned for five one-day games following his racist outburst.

The suspension starts with immediate effect and will rule the Yorkshire captain out of the rest of the VB Series, which continues against England in Adelaide on Sunday.

If the best-of-three finals last just two matches, the in-form player will also miss Australia's crucial opening World Cup fixture against Pakistan on 11 February.

Lehmann was called to a disciplinary hearing in Adelaide for yelling a "racially motivated obscenity" after he was run out during Wednesday's victory over Sri Lanka.

I meant no offence by my comments and again would like to apologise for making them

Darren Lehmann

Match referee Clive Lloyd took three hours to rule that Lehmann had broken the International Cricket Council's code of conduct.

"I accept the penalty handed down and would like to say once again how regretful I am," said Lehmann after the hearing.

"I meant no offence by my comments and again would like to apologise for making them.

"I would also like to thank the Sri Lankan team for their support and understanding in this matter."

ICC match referee Clive Lloyd
Lloyd explains the reasons for his decision

Lehmann, who also captains South Australia, had the option to appeal but his lawyer Greg Griffin said he would accept the punishment.

Lehmann is the first international cricketer to be suspended for breaching the ICC's racial code of conduct.

He apologised after the outburst, which came as he entered the dressing-room after being run out for 38 in Australia's four-wicket win.

But the ICC charged him with a Level Three breach of its Code of Conduct for Players and Officials, even though Sri Lanka were reluctant to lay formal charges.

ICC Code of Conduct Level 3.4
Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin

"In this instance, I have decided that a ban of five one-day internationals is the appropriate punishment," said Lloyd.

"Lehmann has apologised for the remarks.

Impeccable record

"In reaching my decision, I took into consideration Darren's impeccable record and other matters put to me about his standing and reputation in cricket.

"Darren's comments could be interpreted as deeply offensive, and I do not think we can condone such things in sport or life in general."

Australia coach John Buchanan has already said that the incident would be unlikely to affect Lehmann's international career.

New South Wales batsman Michael Clarke has been called up to replace Lehmann for the rest of the VB Series and is set for his debut against England.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Sport's Adam Mountford
"Lehmann will miss the rest of the VB series"
 Darren Lehmann
"I meant no offence by my comments"
 Match referee Clive Lloyd
"We cannot condone such things in sport"
England take on Australia and Sri Lanka

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26 Apr 02 | Cricket
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