Slogan Fiasco: Old Trafford Airspace Shut During India-NZ Match

Amid the ongoing issue of political slogans being displayed by private planes at match venues in the World Cup, the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester has been made a "No Fly Zone" ahead of India's semifinal clash against New Zealand on Tuesday, 9 July, according to news agency PTI.

Here's a lowdown on how the fiasco has snowballed so far:

What are These Slogans?

During more than one match at the World Cup involving India, private planes have been spotted flying across the grounds displaying political slogans on banners.

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During Saturday’s India-Sri Lanka match, an unnamed private aircraft flew from Bradford zone with banners like “India stop Mob Lynching” and “Justice for Kashmir” over the Headingley ground.

Earlier, an aircraft flew with the banner "Justice For Balochistan" during the game between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Does This Violate the Law?

According to an Indian Express article, quoting a company that rents private jets, there is no bar on flying a plane over "regions that are not no-fly zones", like World Cup venues.

However, the ICC's rule book mandates against any kind of political sloganeering or messaging during a match. One might recall that former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was asked to remove an army insignia printed on his wicketkeeping gloves, under this rule.

However, that rule is only applicable to players and match officials.

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What About the 'No-Fly Zone' Now Then?

Following repeated incidents of such sloganeering, the BCCI had written a letter to ICC, asking the body to take action, news agency IANS reported.

In response to the letter, ICC had said that its Security Director has met the authorities to prevent flights from entering the Old Trafford airspace.

Tuesday's development seems to have come as a result of that meeting.

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(With inputs from PTI, IANS, Indian Express)

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