The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yesterday updated its 12-point action plan to tackle racism and discrimination, including details on a review of “dressing room culture” and a standardised approach to whistleblowing.
The plan was unveiled in November after a number of players, including former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq alleged they were victims of institutional racism at their clubs.
The ECB’s review of dressing room culture will be led by Clare Connor and Ashley Giles, England’s managing directors of women’s and men’s cricket, along with the First Class counties, the Professional Cricketers Association and external experts.
“The review will commence in February and run across the 2022 season (when dressing rooms are active) with the final report due in September,” the ECB said in a statement yesterday.
It added that an independently operated whistleblowing system with standardised procedures for investigations into complaints will be set up by the end of February and that a new anti-discrimination unit will begin operating in May.
“Work is continuing to define the resources and capabilities required by the ECB’s new anti-discrimination unit,” the ECB added in its statement.
“The unit will work with the professional game to tackle discrimination while also providing ongoing guidance across cricket.”
The ECB also said it was working with football anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out to build a more “inclusive cricketing environment”.
Meanwhile Rafiq has criticised Middlesex County Cricket Club chief Mike O’Farrell’s comments attempting to explain English cricket’s lack of diversity, saying it was indicative of an “endemic problem” in the sport.
The county cricket chairs of Middlesex, Yorkshire, Hampshire and Glamorgan appeared before a Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) select committee today as part of an ongoing investigation into cricketing governance.
The committee was formed after a number of players, including Rafiq, alleged they were victims of institutional racism at their clubs.
Speaking before the DCMS committee, O’Farrell suggested that a lack of diversity in English cricket could be attributed to minority communities focusing on other interests.
“The football and rugby world becomes much more attractive to the Afro-Caribbean community,” O’Farrell said.
“In terms of the South Asian community, we’re finding that they do not want necessarily to commit the same time that is necessary to go the next step.
“They sometimes prefer to go into other educational fields and then cricket becomes secondary, and part of that is because it’s a more time-consuming sport than some others.”
Rafiq responded to O’Farrell’s comments on Twitter, saying it was a “painful listen”.
“Shows how far removed from reality these people are,” Rafiq said.
“This has just confirmed what an endemic problem the game has. I actually can’t believe what I am listening to.”
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