Racism in cricket: Government should limit public funding unless progress is made – DCMS report

A parliamentary report recommended that the government limit public funding of cricket unless there is “provided sustained progress” in stamping out racism.

Azim Rafeeq gave an emotional testimony last year before the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sports about suffered from racism in Yorkshire.

The commission’s report was published on Friday, with Speaker Julian Knight calling Rafeeq’s story “typical of an endemic problem in the whole of cricket”.

Yorkshire has been widely criticized for its handling of Rafeeq’s allegations.

Former Chairman Roger Hutton and CEO Mark Arthur have resigned and 16 employees have been fired.

The commission said the changes made by Lord Patel, who replaced Hutton in November, were a positive step but that it alone “cannot eliminate racism”.

“This is a turning point in cricket,” Knight said.

“Those who love and support the game are part of the solution and should play their part.”

Rafeeq welcomed the report, adding that it also made clear the responsibilities of the England and Wales Cricket Board in tackling racism in sport.

He said: “The committee has listened and has taken reasonable action. It is very remarkable that Julian Knight and his colleagues on the committee will hold the ECB to account.

“It shows how seriously politicians take an issue that has been ignored by so many people in cricket for so long. The committee understands how important it is to clean up the game.

“I am happy that the representatives will monitor any progress, so that the reforms needed to make the sport inclusive of all young people can take place soon.”

What does the report say?

A Select Committee Companion told in November that English cricket was “institutionally racist” and that racial language was used “consistently” during his time as a player in Yorkshire.

Knight said lawmakers were “shocked” at the language used in the correspondence they received after the session.

The report also referred to stories in the media that serve to “distort” Rafiq.

“It has further demonstrated that eradicating racism from the game will be a long and difficult path,” the report said.

“It does not matter whether the whistleblower has a full moral character but whether the issue raised is valid.

“It is clear to us that there is a deeply rooted issue of racism in cricket.”

Knight once again praised Rafeeq for his courage in speaking out about racism.

Members of Parliament also heard from Hutton and representatives from the European Central Bank, including CEO Tom Harrison, during the November session.

Harrison said English cricket was so On the verge of an emergency On her failure to address racism, with the governing body He later published a five-point plan to address the problem.

“Public funding for cricket must be based on real leadership and progress by the European Central Bank to tackle hateful behaviour,” Knight said.

“The government should make future funding conditional on cleaning up the game for its work.

“We have told the ECB that we expect to deliver regular updates to this committee on progress made.”

MPs recommended that the European Central Bank develop a set of “key indicators” to measure progress and then report back to the committee.

They will also invite Yorkshire and the European Central Bank to provide evidence of their progress as early as 2022.

Knight told BBC sports editor Dan Rowan that the long-term viability of the ECB itself could be called into question if it did not tackle racism.

“Any Sport England grants or any form of government grant must be dependent on the ECB demonstrating that it has not only set these goals but is actively looking to achieve them,” he added.

“If that doesn’t happen either, we can probably look at an option down the line to create an independent regulator.

“This is a major test of whether or not this should remain the case.”

What was the reaction?

In response to the report, lord battle He described Rafeeq’s testimony as “a watershed moment for the sport as a whole” and added that Yorkshire was “committed to ensuring that no one endures the unacceptable experience they have undergone”.

a DCMS spokesperson He added: “We thank the select committee for their report on the disgraceful treatment of Azim Rafeeq by Yorkshire County Cricket Club and racism in sport.

We will now consider the report’s recommendations and take further action if necessary.”

Barry O’BrienThe ECB Interim President said: “We welcome the recommendations of the Committee and also endorse the Committee’s continued examination. We are determined to eradicate racism – and other forms of discrimination – from our sport.

“We have already taken important steps to make cricket more inclusive in recent years. We deeply regret the pain people have experienced and appreciate the courage they have taken to speak out. We are determined to make cricket a stronger and more welcoming sport.”

Tim HollingsworthSport England’s chief executive, said: “The DCMS Select Committee report highlights the strong need for the European Central Bank, the provinces and other cricket stakeholders to reform and take action to end structural racism in the sport.

“Sport England financing is explicitly linked to the development and implementation of robust diversity and inclusion policies and plans. We made this clear to the European Central Bank, which has responded positively and constructively.

“The strong and personal testimony that Azim Rafeeq gave before the committee shows us that, in the end, the true test of progress will be the lived experiences of the diverse communities and their participation in the game. Until experiences like that of Azim are eradicated, the work to defeat racism in sport must be continued. .”

How did we get here?

Rafeeq, who worked twice in Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018, initially announced his experiences in September 2020.

Yorkshire launched a formal investigation in the same month and received the results in August 2021.

However, the club did not release the report, despite its request from the European Central Bank. Instead, they released a statesman who admitted that Rafiq had been a “victim of inappropriate behaviour” – something he said downplayed racism – and offered him their “deep apologies”.

After further criticism, Yorkshire received a summary of the findings, which said seven of Rafeeq’s 43 claims had been corroborated.

They concluded that no one in Yorkshire would face disciplinary action, but the club was heavily criticized by critics and MPs, with a number of sponsors withdrawing from their deals.

Rafeeq and other individuals were then asked to speak to the DCMS panel in November.

What is Yorkshire doing to change?

Patel has made a number of changes since taking over at Yorkshire, including setting up a whistleblowing hotline, reviewing procedures and policies at the club and an employment court settlement with a companion.

In December, 16 members of the team were sacked, including cricket manager Martin Moxon and first team coach Andrew Gill.

Since then, former Yorkshire and England fast bowler Darren Goff has been appointed as director of cricket until the end of the 2022 season, while former English bowlers Ryan Sidebottom and Steve Harmison have joined the coaching staff on a temporary basis.

However, the club is still banned from hosting England matches by the European Central Bank.

Patel told BBC Sport on Wednesday he was confident the ban on hosting England matches would be lifted, while Rafik said Yorkshire “deserves” matches in Headingley.

“In the past two months, Yorkshire has made significant progress in our rebuilding efforts, and I am pleased that the commission sees room for optimism in what we have achieved,” Patel said in a statement on Friday.

“We share that optimism and have made some real improvements, but we are still at the beginning of this long and important journey.

“Azeem’s companion’s testimony was a watershed moment for the sport as a whole, and we are committed to ensuring that no one endures the unacceptable experience they have undergone.”

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