Institutional racism and sexism infects English cricket, says report

FILE - A close up view of cricket gloves and bat during the second day of the 2nd Test match between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, England
FILE - A close up view of cricket gloves and bat during the second day of the 2nd Test match between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham, England Copyright AP
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By Euronews with AP
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The extensive report pointed out "entrenched" racism in all levels of English cricket alongside an extremely sexist environment for female cricketers.


Institutional racism, sexism and class-based discrimination continue to infect English cricket, a report published by Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket on Tuesday has found.

Among its findings, racism was “entrenched” in the English game, women were treated as “second-class citizens,” and cricket was a rare option in state schools.

Then, if anybody wanted to complain about the problems, the ICEC says the system was confusing and not fit for purpose.

The report calls for “decisive action,” and makes 44 recommendations and a number of sub-recommendations.

The ECB said some reforms could be “implemented swiftly” but others would require "fundamental, longer-term changes to cricket in England and Wales, and its funding model.”

England and Wales Cricket Board chair Richard Thompson issued a public apology and described the report as a “wake-up call.”

“I apologise unreservedly to anyone who has ever been excluded from cricket or made to feel like they don’t belong,” Thompson said. “Powerful conclusions within the report also highlight that for too long women and Black people were neglected. We are truly sorry for this."

English cricket was rocked in 2020 when former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq said he was a victim of racial harassment and bullying through two spells at the nation's most successful club from 2008-18.

During a tearful testimony at a parliamentary hearing in 2021, he spoke of the Islamophobia and bullying he was subjected to.

“Do I believe I lost my career to racism? Yes, I do,” Rafiq said at the hearing.

Rafiq welcomed the new report's finding, hailing the "extraordinary work" put into the inquiry to allow everyone involved in English cricket to reflect and improve. 

The ICEC was commissioned in November 2020 as part of the ECB's wide-ranging effort to address allegations of discrimination and improve equality, diversity and inclusion in cricket.

The findings were initially scheduled to be reported last year.

The commission was chaired by Cindy Butts, who, among many roles, has held positions with the Independent Police Complaints Commission and anti-discrimination soccer charity Kick it Out.

The ICEC received more than 4,000 submissions from people at all levels. Half said they experienced discrimination in the previous five years. 

But the figures were higher when separated by ethnicity: 87% of people with Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage, 82% of people with Indian origin, and 75% of all Black contributors.

"We apologize unreservedly for these experiences, and are thankful for the courage of those who have shared them with the ICEC, whilst recognizing there will be many more who felt unable to give their accounts,” Thompson said.

The ECB said it had already made “significant improvements” since 2018, but added, “the report makes clear that much more needs to be done.”


Chief executive officer Richard Gould added, “Making cricket more inclusive and reflective of the communities it serves is my number one priority. This cannot and will not be a quick fix. We should view this as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore trust in the game we love.”

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