The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have decided to make the Old Trafford stadium a “No Fly Zone” for the ICC World Cup 2019 semifinal match between India and New Zealand. This action comes after three unauthorized aircraft carrying banners with political messages flew over the venue of India’s last league game against Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been informed of the same by ECB after consultation with the local security authorities. “We had clearly stated about the breach of security and also raised concerns about the security of our players. Accordingly, ECB has sent a confirmation to CEO Rahul Johri that Old Trafford air space has been turned into a ‘No Fly Zone’ for the day,” an anonymous BCCI official was quoted by PTI.

During the league game, three unauthorized aircraft flew over Headingley carrying banners which stated political messages “JUSTICE FOR KASHMIR”, “INDIA STOP GENOCIDE & FREE KASHMIR” and “HELP END MOB LYNCHING”.

This incident came as a reflection of a clear security breach of the ICC World Cup 2019. Also, a similar kind of incident had taken place during the league game between Pakistan and Afghanistan where an aircraft flew over the same venue carrying a banner with “JUSTICE FOR BALOCHISTAN” written on it. These have left the ICC and ECB embarrassed as the aircraft incident during the Pakistan and Afghanistan game was followed by a series of brawls between supporters of both the team which the security authorities failed to restrict.

Despite assurances from West Yorkshire Police that such political slogans will not be allowed as they violate ICC’s code, there was no significant action which forced the global body to express disappointment.

(With inputs from PTI)