MPs say future public funding for cricket must depend on progress to tackle racism
The DCMS Committee’s Report into racism in cricket urges the Government to limit public funding for the game unless there is demonstrable progress on ridding racist behaviour from clubs and among spectators.
Progress to tackle racism would be measured by indicators developed by the England and Wales Cricket Board with reports made to the Committee every quarter.
MPs conclude not only is there racism in cricket, but that Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the England and Wales Cricket Board would have been aware of it. The Report finds that the existence of the South Asian Action Plan indicates that everyone should have known of the endemic racism within the game.
The DCMS Committee’s examination of racism at YCCC followed an internal investigation by the club that, despite upholding claims of racial discrimination, concluded there was ‘no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or Executives that warrants disciplinary action’.
DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP said in light of the news: “The powerful evidence given to this Committee by Azeem Rafiq convinced us that his story was typical of an endemic problem across the whole of cricket. We commend him for having the courage to blow the whistle on unacceptable and discriminatory behaviour.
“We have been shocked by language people used in correspondence with us after the hearing. That, together with stories run in the media to discredit him, demonstrate that eradicating racism from the game will be a long and difficult road. However, this is a watershed for cricket in this country. Those who love and support the game are part of the solution and must play their part.
“Changes introduced by Lord Patel at Yorkshire County Cricket Club give room for optimism, but alone cannot eradicate racism in the game. Public funding for cricket must depend on real leadership and progress by the ECB to tackle abhorrent behaviour, not just in the dressing rooms, but also in the stands.
“The Government must make future funding conditional on the game cleaning up its act. We put the ECB on notice that we expect regular updates delivered to this Committee on progress being made.”