Just Stop Oil march in front of England Cricket team coach
Players from both England and Australia will be given extra security at Edgbaston this week in a bid to prevent the opening Ashes test from being disrupted by Just Stop Oil protestors. The series is poised to begin on Saturday morning with England bidding to regain the urn after losing at the hands of their Aussie rivals down under at the last time of asking.
There have been concerns ahead of the first test that Just Stop Oil protestors could disrupt proceedings after doing so at the World Snooker Championship and Premiership Rugby final earlier this year, while Animal Rising activists have also wreaked havoc at the Grand National and Epsom Derby in recent months.
Additional security measures have since been implemented ahead of the Ashes in an attempt to stop any protests from materialising at Edgbaston over the next few days, according to the Daily Mail. It is said that internal discussions recently took place between ECB bosses and West Midlands Police, who offered advice to both teams on secure route planning and agreed to assign additional officers to guide against pitch invaders.
The ECB will also have its own security staff in place at Edgbaston after the England team coach was held up by Just Stop Oil protestors on the first day of their one-off test against Ireland a fortnight ago. Guy Lavender, chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club, recently warned of the ‘significant risk’ posed by activists looking to cause disruption at prominent sporting events and revealed that preventative measures are being taken by those responsible for mitigating the threat of protests.
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“It’s just a misery with the disruption to major sporting events and people’s way of life,” said Lavender. “All we can do is to continue to prepare for disruption as any sensible ground can do and we have been planning for possible protests for quite a while so we will do our best.
“You can minimise those risks but at a sports ground unless you have a barrier in front of spectators, it is quite difficult. The stakes are quite high and the implications are quite high. If it damages the square that’s an issue and we have been trying to mitigate for that.
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“We have to hope that common sense prevails but the direction of travel suggests that disruption is a significant risk and we have been planning for it.”
Australia are widely considered to be the slight favourites to win the Ashes in spite of the exciting new brand of cricket being played by England under the guidance of head coach Brendon McCullum. The Aussies recently wrapped up the World Test Championship title with a convincing win over India at The Oval and will be hoping to continue their strong form against their English rivals when they do battle at Edgbaston on Saturday morning.
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