Tuesday 29 January 2008 

Harbhajan Singh Cleared Of Racially Abusing Symonds

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Tuesday they had cleared India spinner Harbhajan Singh of racial abuse after the charge was downgraded to a lesser offence.

An ICC spokesman confirmed in a statement that Harbhajan's three-match suspension had been overturned after he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of using obscene language.

A statement from the ICC explained:

"Justice Hansen said he was convinced that, on all the evidence submitted before him, the charge of a Level 3.3 offence was not proven but that Harbhajan should be charged with a Level 2.8 offence.

"Harbhajan pleaded guilty to this charge and, after hearing submissions on the penalty, Justice Hansen imposed a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee."

India's cricket board threatened to cancel the rest of the tour unless the charge was dropped but later withdrew that threat and agreed to finish the series after the ICC made a number of concessions including the sacking of umpire Steve Bucknor.

Harbhajan was also allowed to play on until his appeal had been heard.

Harbhajan was originally hit with a three-match suspension after being found guilty of racially abusing Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds during the second test in Sydney.

© Reuters 2008