World Cup 2019: Narendra Modi, Imran Khan masks may be disallowed at Old Trafford
ICC is contemplating banning them for the India-Pakistan game at Manchester on Sunday as it is concerned about tension in the stands
Manchester: The International Cricket Council (ICC), local police and the Old Trafford stadium security are taking extra measures to ensure tomorrow's high-profile World Cup clash between India and Pakistan goes off smoothly. With the tension escalating between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack in February, the last thing the ICC and the authorities want here is an untoward incident during the match.
In such a high-tension scenario, the authorities are likely to disallow fans from wearing face masks of any political leader. Though the final security briefing will take place only on the eve of the match, a source privy to the security arrangements told mid-day that the authorities will be given a freehand to stop fans wearing masks from entering the ground.
An Indian fan wears a PM Narendra Modi mask in Nottingham on Thursday
"Though a briefing has yet to take place, the authorities have full authority to stop face masks of political leaders if they think it could disrupt peace in the stands," the source said. A lot of Indian fans have been seen wearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's face mask for India's earlier World Cup matches here. They weren't stopped from wearing it at the Ageas Bowl (India v SA), The Oval (India v Australia) and at Trent Bridge (India v NZ). However, the fans are likely to be stopped here if they sport face masks of Modi or Pakistan PM Imran Khan, the 1992 World Cup-winning captain.
The stadium authorities at The Oval did confiscate a placard from an Indian fan which read: "Australian furniture is the best because they use sandpaper." They also took away a poster that had the Balidan insignia logo which MS Dhoni had worn on his gloves. The standard guidelines for items that are prohibited for World Cup matches state: "No promotional, commercial, political, religious or deemed offensive items including but not related to clothing, banners, placards, leaflet, signs or other materials used for ambush marketing."
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