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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 March, 2003, 10:04 GMT
Bacher defends Zimbabwe stance
By Thrasy Petropoulos
BBC Sport in Port Elizabeth

Ali Bacher
Bacher: Again under fire for decision to stage games in Zimbabwe
Ali Bacher was again forced to defend the International Cricket Council's decision to stage World Cup matches in Zimbabwe after 40 cricket fans in Bulawayo were arrested and a cricket official was allegedly beaten by police.

The mother of one 16-year-old boy, who was arrested and beaten, said police only released her son when they realised he was in a critical condition and needed hospital attention.

Police detained the fans during the match against Holland under Zimbabwe's stringent security laws, saying they were wearing provocative clothing and political insignia.

Tim Cherry, a Bulawayo lawyer, said he would be lodging an official complaint.

He added that 23 of the group were held in a single cell, unable to sit or lie down, and were denied food or water until it was brought to them by friends.

Most embarrassing to Bacher, however, was the arrest of Paul Dietrechsen, the vice-president of Queen's Sports Club in Bulawayo, for attempting to intervene when police were allegedly hitting another member of the club.

Monty Jenkinson had "verbally abused" a cricket fan for entering the members' enclosure of the ground.

I saw him grab a rubber baton from one of the uniformed officers and start assaulting him
A cricket fan voices concern over police actions

The fan returned after the match with five policemen who arrested Jenkinson.

Another member, George Parkin, said Jenkinson was punched in the mouth by the senior policeman.

Dietrechsen arrived wearing an official ICC badge and demanded to know what was going on.

"A plainclothes officer then arrived," Parkin said. "I saw him grab a rubber baton from one of the uniformed officers and start assaulting Dietrechsen."

Parkin added that all three men were then pushed to the ground and assaulted by the police who screamed racial insults at them.

Asked to comment, Bacher, the World Cup executive director, said he had made inquiries and established that Dietrechsen is "not an ICC official and is not associated with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union".

He added that the World Cup organising committee's policy is that "offensive or vulgar or political banners are prevented from being taken into the grounds, whether at the Wanderers or Bulawayo".

He was "not certain" whether the protesters had been inside or outside the ground.

The arrests are believed to bring to about 100 the number of people detained in Zimbabwe in connection with protests staged around the World Cup.

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