English cricket must ‘clean up its act’ on racism, concludes DCMS report

The parliamentary committee investigating the problem of racism in English cricket says that the game should decide to “cleaning up its act” with the intention to qualify for future authorities funding, following the publication of its report within the wake of Azeem Rafiq‘s allegations at Yorkshire.
Rafiq, the previous Yorkshire allrounder, advised ESPNcricinfo in an interview in 2020 that he had been pushed to “the brink of suicide” by his experiences of racial discrimination throughout two spells at Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018. And although a subsequent inside investigation by the membership upheld his claims, it additionally concluded there was “no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives that warrants disciplinary action”.
However, subsequent revelations from Yorkshire’s then-undisclosed report – most notably the declare that the usage of the racial slur “P**i” was “banter” – attracted the condemnation of MPs, together with the well being secretary Sajid Javid, and led to an inquiry by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

During two days of DCMS hearings in November and December, testimony was heard from numerous events concerned with Yorkshire and English cricket, together with Tom Harrison, the ECB chief govt, and Roger Hutton, who resigned as Yorkshire’s chairman on the top of the controversy, with Lord Kamlesh Patel appointed as his substitute.

But it was Rafiq’s appearance on November 16 that despatched shockwaves by means of the game, as he associated tales of getting pink wine poured down his throat in membership cricket, and being advised to vary “by the toilets” throughout his early days at Yorkshire.

“All I wanted to do was play cricket and play cricket for England and live my dream and live my family’s dream,” Rafiq advised the listening to. “Do I believe I lost my career to racism? Yes I do.”

In a abstract of its findings, the DCMS committee urged the UK authorities to restrict public funding for the sport except there may be “demonstrable progress on ridding racist behaviour from clubs and among spectators”. It additionally referred to as on the ECB to develop a set of “key indicators” to measure their progress in combatting institutional racism, and to report again to the committee each quarter.

“It is evident to us that there is a deep-seated issue of racism in cricket,” the report acknowledged. “More pertinent, it is evident to Yorkshire Country Cricket Club and the England and Wales Cricket Board that there is an issue of racism in cricket.”

The report added that Nigel Huddlestone, the sports activities minister, had reiterated the federal government’s preparedness to take motion, after warning the ECB throughout his personal look earlier than the committee that they retained the “nuclear option” of appointing an independent regulator if the board did not “get its house in order”.

“We, like the minister, are watching closely and fully intend to ensure that cricket cleans up its act,” the report acknowledged. “We recommend that the government ensures that any future public funds for cricket are dependent on continuous, demonstrable progress in getting rid of racism in both the dressing rooms and on the stands.”

Writing within the Yorkshire Post earlier this week, Lord Patel insisted that Yorkshire was working “hell-for-leather” to show itself worthy of internet hosting this summer season’s scheduled towards New Zealand and South Africa, after being suspended from Major Match standing on the top of the disaster, and Rafiq himself subsequently added that the membership had made “a step in the right direction”.

However, in line with the DCMS report, ECB and Yorkshire officers will probably be referred to as earlier than the committee once more “early in 2022” to replace on the game’s progress.

“The powerful evidence given to this committee by Azeem Rafiq convinced us that his story was typical of an endemic problem across the whole of cricket,” Julian Knight, the DCMS chair, mentioned. “We commend him for having the courage to blow the whistle on unacceptable and discriminatory behaviour.

“We have been shocked by language folks utilized in correspondence with us after the listening to. That, along with tales run within the media to discredit him, show that eradicating racism from the sport will probably be a protracted and tough street. However, it is a watershed for cricket on this nation. Those who love and help the sport are a part of the answer and should play their half.

“Changes introduced by Lord Patel at Yorkshire County Cricket Club give room for optimism, but alone cannot eradicate racism in the game. Public funding for cricket must depend on real leadership and progress by the ECB to tackle abhorrent behaviour, not just in the dressing rooms, but also in the stands.

“The authorities should make future funding conditional on the sport cleansing up its act. We put the ECB on discover that we anticipate common updates delivered to this committee on progress being made.”

Responding on behalf of the ECB, Barry O’Brien, Interim chair, said: “We welcome the committee’s suggestions and the main target of Julian Knight and committee members on reaching actual change.

“We also embrace the ongoing scrutiny of the committee and all those that love the game of cricket who will be watching closely as we undertake the continuous, demonstrable, progress in eradicating racism from the dressing room and from the stands. We are determined to root out racism – and other forms of discrimination – from our sport.

“We stay up for updating the committee on the progress the entire recreation is making in delivering the 12-point Action Plan agreed in November to carry in regards to the significant change all of us need to see. We agree that sharing common, public updates on our progress is essential to rebuilding belief in our sport.

“We had already taken important steps to make cricket more inclusive in recent years – including our 2018 South Asian Action Plan, our 2019 Inspiring Generations strategy to make cricket a game for everyone, and launching the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket in early 2021 – however, we recognise that more needs to be done.

“We are deeply sorry for the ache folks have suffered and recognise the braveness it has taken to talk out. By working with the sport to ship the Action Plan, and persevering with to pay attention and study from folks’s experiences, we’re decided to make cricket a stronger, extra welcoming sport.”

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