Counties who do not meet certain expectations within the 12-point plan risk having their ECB funding reduced; Azeem Rafiq told Sky Sports News the ‘floodgates’ are about to open on cricket’s racism crisis following his damning account during a DCMS committee hearing
Last Updated: 18/11/21 3:06pm
The chairs of the 18 first-class counties along with representatives from the English and Wales Cricket Board and the Professional Cricketers’ Association will meet to discuss a one-point agenda on equality, diversity, and inclusion within English cricket.
First-class counties are being asked to sign up to a 12-point action plan to improve the situation within the game after Azeem Rafiq’s evidence on Tuesday at the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) committee.
There is a feeling certain counties still remain a long way behind in terms of actions plans for young children and the continuing lack of diversity within coaching teams and boardrooms that needs to improve rapidly.
Counties who do not meet certain expectations within the 12-point plan risk having their ECB funding reduced.
It is understood the role of the ECB chair and CEO Tom Harrison’s position will not be discussed during the meeting at the Oval, and this is not the right time to make such decisions, with the game standing accused of failing to see the bigger picture if that becomes one of the main priority.
- Jack Brooks reprimanded by Somerset over historical tweets
- Azeem Rafiq: Seems to be acceptance of racist abuse at Yorkshire
- Rafiq: Floodgates will open after hearing
- Alex Hales denies Rafiq claims on ‘Kevin’ dog name
In his remarks to MPs on Tuesday, former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq delivered damning claims of alleged discriminatory incidents during his time at Headingley involving several high-profile former team-mates including Michael Vaughan, Gary Ballance and Matthew Hoggard.
Speaking to Sky Sports News a day after the hearing, Rafiq said the “floodgates” are about to open on other cricketers revealing their accounts of racism in the game.
Rafiq’s ex-Yorkshire team-mate Jack Brooks has been reprimanded by Somerset and will be required to undergo training on diversity over historical tweets that included racist language.
Alex Hales has denied he named his own dog after a racial slur and said he will “co-operate with any investigation” following the DCMS hearing.
Former England captain Vaughan “completely and categorically” denies the allegation from Rafiq he made a racist comment towards him and other Asian players before Yorkshire’s match against Nottinghamshire in 2009.
Sky Sports pundit David Lloyd has apologised to Rafiq after he was accused of making a racist comment towards him, and Sky has launched an investigation into the claims.
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DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP believes the lack of British South Asian players at Yorkshire is an indication of institutional racism at the club
Cricket would benefit from a Kick It Out-style organisation in the wake of the Rafiq racism scandal, according to DCMS Chair Committee Julian Knight MP.
“I feel as though I have been complacent. I did not think that it [cricket] was systematically racist,” Knight told Sky Sports News on Wednesday.
“There was clearly a serious problem at Yorkshire, and there may have been instances elsewhere, but we can’t put anything off the table.
“We need a ‘Kick It Out’ for cricket, like in football. The idea that we can have people using these phrases, harassing, bullying, excluding individuals such as Mr Rafiq. It is utterly almost beyond comprehension.
“But we need to understand it, and ensure that going forward we have a sport that is transparent and clean. That means complete governance reform in my view.
“It isn’t a quick fix, it’s more deeply rooted than I thought when I started off in this inquiry a few months ago.
“We need to make sure the ECB has the powers in place to get a hold of the counties so we do not have a repeat of what we have seen at Yorkshire.
“The racism has been exacerbated by the report and the way the investigation was conducted by Yorkshire, which in my view looked as if it was a means by which to keep Mr Rafiq quiet and out of the public domain. It took a parliamentary session to ensure that absolute horrors after several years, Mr Rafiq was able to speak the truth.”