Pakistan has banned its cricketers from social networking sites Facebook and Twitter in the latest effort to exert discipline following a series of damaging scandals, an official said Wednesday.
Team manager Intikhab Alam said the decision was taken after wicket-keeper Zulwarnain Haider used Facebook to announce his retirement, after absconding from duty in Dubai and flying to London last month.
He used the popular social networking site to announce that he was retiring from international cricket and intended to seek political asylum after allegedly receiving death threats and being pressured to fix matches.
Haider has also threatened to name and shame on Facebook Pakistani teammates allegedly involved in match-fixing.
Alam told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that players had been ordered to steer clear of such websites.
“Nobody is allowed to discuss cricket on websites like Facebook and Twitter, and since there is a clause in players’ central contracts, they are bound to follow it,” Alam said.
Alam said players had disowned any Facebook and Twitter accounts.
“We have also sought advice from our legal adviser as to how to stop people making fake Facebook and Twitter accounts. We can take them to court if they don’t abstain from this,” Alam said.
Alam said the ban is part of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s drive to maintain strict discipline and lift the team out of a series of fixing controversies.
“We have told the players to maintain discipline and avoid any controversy, and this ban is part of that planning,” said Alam.
In May, Pakistan briefly blocked access to Facebook after an anonymous user called on people to draw the Prophet Mohammed to promote “freedom of expression”, sparking angry protests in the conservative Muslim country. — Sapa-AFP