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ECB reveal plan to tackle racism in cricket after 'earthquake' of allegations

By Patric Ridge

London, November 26: England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief Tom Harrison said it felt like "an earthquake" had hit the English game following the allegations of institutional racism within the sport.

Over recent weeks, Yorkshire's dismal handling of Azeem Rafiq's allegations of racism have brought cricket under the spotlight.

The ECB were also criticised by Rafiq, who told Sky Sports: "the ECB know they messed up."

In the first media briefing since last week's select committee hearing at Westminster, ECB chief executive Harrison said: "It feels like an earthquake has hit us.

"The last few weeks have been very, very tough for cricket. Our game has been portrayed in the worst possible way in the world's media, and testimony from others has revealed serious issues which we've collectively not dealt with as a game for many decades, as well as more recently."

Harrison's appearance in front of the media came as the ECB released its action plan to tackle racism within cricket.

The ECB's plan was split into five main aims: understanding and educating more; addressing dressing-room culture; removing barriers in talent pathways; creating welcoming environments for all, and publishing localised action plans on a six-month deadline.

Each heading has several sub-aims, including a vow to have "a standardised approach to reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints, allegations, and whistleblowing across the game" instilled within three months.

The ECB also promised to hold "a full review of dressing-room culture in all mens' and women's professional teams, both domestic and international."

A review of governance and regulation in cricket to identify any opportunities to strengthen the structures and processes across the game will also be carried out, while the ECB pledged £25million of strategic funding over five years in support of Ethnicity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) actions.

A new anti-discrimination unit will be established within six months, as well as the immediate inclusion of EDI minimum standards. These standards will be upheld by a direct link to funding, with any central distributions able to be withheld if necessary.

Barry O'Brien, ECB Interim Chair, said: "This is a critical moment for cricket. At the all-game meeting last week, we agreed with one voice on the need to act decisively.

"Whilst change is required urgently, we also recognise that sustained action and improvements will be required over months and years if we are to become the most welcoming and diverse sport in the country. We begin today and will hold ourselves to account at each step of the way."

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Read more about: ecb england racism cricket
Story first published: Friday, November 26, 2021, 22:10 [IST]
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