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For the first time since the opening day in Perth, South Africas defences have been
For the first time since the opening day in Perth, South Africas defences have been tested, and this time they have held up strongly. The entire squad and support staff stood in solidarity with stand-in captain Faf du Plessis against what they see as victimisation after their third successive series win in Australia.Lets start with the obvious. Whether or not du Plessis is found guilty of altering the condition of the ball - which, when indulged in, is to encourage reverse swing - is irrelevant to the outcome of the series. Vernon Philander would still have found seam movement either way, Australia would still have lost. So South Africa see the charges as taking the shine off a deserved win and an attempt to diminish their success.Hashim Amla said as much when he called the episode sour sweets in an extraordinary press conference at the MCG. Amla was accompanied by every member of the touring party, who stood with him as he delivered the South African response to a charge that, at that stage, had not even been laid. Amla said he was not aware that the ICC was reviewing the footage, and used strong words to dismiss the allegation. Words like joke and ridiculous, which came in response to similarly harsh words in the Australian media.When the footage of du Plessis was first released on Wednesday, newspapers carrying the story described du Plessis as a confessed ball-tamperer and the team as notorious for their working of the ball. Every major publication carried several stories on it, and it received substantial airtime on television. South Africa are not used to that sort of coverage: the media landscape is much smaller back home, and much softer in India - the other place where they are confronted with mass reportage.They are understood to be seeing it as their fight against the Australian fourth estate, without whose intervention this would not have come to light. Not even the match officials knew that du Plessis was shining the ball with saliva that had also allegedly been in contact with a mint. When it came to their attention via the media, the 18-hour window for them to report it had lapsed but Cricket Australia could still have laid a complaint. The board did not, and made clear it had no intention to do so. Instead, the ICC chose to review the footage of its own volition and chief executive David Richardson has since laid the charge. Given that course of events, one can see why South Africa feel theyve been unfairly treated.This is not the first time that South African players being caught on camera has spun into a controversy beyond the actual incident. When Philander was fined for ball-tampering in Sri Lanka in 2014, Ten Sports had visuals of him scratching the ball and picking the seam on the third day, and alerted the match referee, Jeff Crowe. Philander was subsequently charged and fined 75% of his match fee. The pictures were not aired publicly until the fifth day and insiders said Cricket South Africa had put pressure on Ten Sports not to broadcast the visuals. When Sri Lanka Cricket found out, it made its own demands to air the footage.A year before that, Ten Sports caught du Plessis rubbing the ball near the zipper on his trouser pocket in the UAE, in a match against Pakistan. The television umpire alerted on-field officials, who awarded penalty runs against South Africa, and du Plessis was later fined. CSA was furious with Ten Sports at the time and threatened their rights and access.On both those occasions, the player involved did not contest the charge and accepted the punishment, although in 2013, du Plessis insisted he did not act with intent. That seems likely to be the defence this time as well, except that du Plessis is contesting the charge and will need legal representation for a hearing. South Africa are in conversation with their counsel and will begin preparing a case.Arguing that they are the victims of a media war is not going to work. The law on using an artificial substance to shine the ball is clear: its not allowed. Even though, as Amla pointed out, players walk out onto the field having consumed any number of things, and its an open secret that the tactic does get used (Marcus Trecothick wrote as much in his autobiography), using the everybody does it defence is also unlikely to earn South Africa any advantage.Exactly how they will get themselves out of this with reputations unscathed remains to be seen, but for now there is some space to understand why theyre feeling a little hard done by. They have already had to deal with racist graffiti aimed at Amla on the fence inside Bellerive Oval, and a public outcry from home when Ian Chappell, on commentary, responding to Ian Healys questions about how Kagiso Rabada developed his pace, said: Youd have to ask all the batsmen in his village. The word village was the one people took issue with. Rabada is from a privileged city background in Johannesburg, and the stereotyping left a bitter taste in South African mouths.Now Australian mints could do the same in another reminder that a tour here is never only fought on the field. Thats part of what makes it so challenging. It is also part of what makes winning here so sweet. Cheap Packers Jerseys . By having more great seasons. Manning was the only unanimous choice for the 2013 Associated Press NFL All-Pro team Friday. Packers Jerseys China .S. hockey team after paying his dues as an NHL general manager for more than three decades and giving up a lot of his free time to help USA Hockey. . Lack made 20 saves for his third shutout of the season as the Canucks blanked the St. Louis Blues 1-0 in the first post-Olympic game for both teams night. Custom Packers T-shirts .1 million pounds ($61.2 million) on Saturday, giving the beleaguered English Premier League champions a major lift. Wholesale Custom Packers Shirts . Those lessons were more than enough to overwhelm the Utah Jazz. Lou Williams scored 25 points and the Hawks continued their offensive upswing as they rolled to an easy 118-85 victory over the Jazz on Friday night, winning their third straight and for the fourth time in five games.Barry Hearn has labelled West Hams Olympic Stadium deal as outrageous for the taxpayer. Details of the full deal between West Ham and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) have now been published, showing the Hammers will pay £2.5m a season to play 25 games at the Olympic Stadium.The contract, published after a tribunal ruled earlier this week that it should be made public, also reveals that the club will not be billed for heating, policing, stadium and pitch maintenance, and even corner flags. My dog could have negotiated a better deal than this. Barry Hearn You welcome this coming into the public domain, said former Leyton Orient chairman Hearn, who wanted Orient to be allowed to share the Olympic Stadium with West Ham.Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Hearn said: The LLDC have fought tooth and nail not to release these details and when you read them, you can understand why, because its obviously a huge embarrassment to them. The Olympic Stadium, pictured during the Rugby World Cup He added: Good luck to West Ham. Theyve done the best job that they could do for themselves. Theyre free from criticism.The people negotiating on behalf of the Government really need to take a look in the mirror.This is an outrageous deal for the taxpayer - £728m of stadium, £272m to convert it specifically to a football venue, West Ham paying £2.5m a year - doesnt sound too bad... but then you realise that the stewarding, the turnstile operators, the police, the cleaners, the ground maintenance - all are being paid for by the stadium. Hearn says West Ham are free from criticism but the Government need to take a look in the mirror Does this give West Ham an unfair advantage over their rivals? Is it anti-competitive under European law? These are questions that will be asked over the next few weeks.As far as Im concerned, my dog could have negotiated a better deal than this.Its put West Ham into the major league. Its added hundreds of millions of pounds to the worth of West Ham - an iconic venue, essentially rent-free, subsidised, £15m of capital and theyre allowed to sell theiir own ground for residential purposes.dddddddddddd Sky Sports News HQ reporter Anton Toloui investigates the cost of West Hams deal to play at Londons Olympic Stadium TaxPayers Alliance chief executive Jonathan Isaby said the contract was ludicrously generous and the deal of the century.He added: Those of us footing the bills deserve a proper explanation.West Ham, who have a 99-year tenancy on the 60,000 capacity Olympic Stadium and will start playing there next season, paid £15m to help convert the stadium - work which cost £272m in total. The Boleyn Ground could now be sold for housing development An LLDC spokesperson said: We are disappointed by the tribunals decision.Our motivation in bringing this case has been to protect millions of pounds of taxpayers money. The stadium needs to be a profitable and successful commercial operation, otherwise it will rely on public subsidy.A West Ham statement read: It is a stadium that the nation can be proud of and we believe it will become one of the greatest football stadiums in the world.West Ham United were named anchor concessionaire of the stadium after a fair, transparent and robust process open to any organisation in the world.We were unanimously chosen. We offered the best deal and the only option for a true and lasting legacy for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Also See: West Hams rent revealed West Ham fixtures Hammers striker shortlist? WATCH: West Ham surprise ' ' '

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