Bahrain mulls ban on expat kids cricket matches

Published:  18 Oct at 6 PM
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A recent shock/horror announcement on a Bahrain news website has suggested expats an their kids will be banned from playing cricket on waste grounds.

Bahrain’s Northern Municipal Council voted on Monday to disallow cricket in its constituencies, according to local media. The council accused fans of the popular game as well as its players of causing risks to peoples’ lives as well as holding illegal gatherings sparking fears local children might be molested by players.

Cricket is a favourite weekend pastime for expats from Asia as well as British participants and their children, who often hold matches on open ground near their homes. Young cricketers and their parents have been accused of crimes such as making too much noise, taking up too many parking spaces and blocking residents’ garage entrances.

Council chairman Mohammed Buhamood told reporters the situation was totally out of control, especially on weekends when hordes of expat cricket fans descend on waste grounds determined to wreak havoc on the neighbourhood. Buhamood justified the council’s decision by saying concerned bodies have to step in when peoples’ lives are at risk.

Softening his stance a little, he also expressed concern for the cricketers themselves, noting none wear protective safety gear and highlighting the lack of ambulances standing by onsite in case of serious injuries. Finally, he fell back on the illegal gathering argument, citing that organisers need to have prior permission from the Youth and Sports Ministry.

The ban comes just a few days after the same municipal council stopped shore-based fishermen from casting lines in so-called dangerous locations such as bridges and highways. The cricket ban will now be reviewed by Bahrain’s Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning Ministry.

Given that cricket is a quintessential English game, it’s hoped the olde English saying ‘a storm in a teacup’ is the result of the review, allowing expats kids and their parents their fun weekends again.
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