‘Racism is a plague on cricket’

Cricket bosses in England and Wales say that racism and discrimination are a “plague” on our game and “apologize without reservation.”

A party-wide meeting was held on Friday following Azeem Rafiq’s testimony about the racism he experienced in Yorkshire.

Rafiq told a selection committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Tuesday that English cricket is “institutionally racist.”

“Our game must regain their confidence,” said ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison.

Representatives from the ECB, the Professional Cricket Players Association, the Marylebone Cricket Club, the National Counties Cricket Association, and the county’s premier and recreational cricket network attended Friday’s meeting at The Oval in London. .

“Azeem Rafiq has shed a light on our game that has shocked, embarrassed and saddened us all,” a joint statement read.

“For Azeem and all those who have experienced some form of discrimination, we are very sorry.

“Our sport did not welcome you, our game did not accept you as we should have. We apologize unreservedly for the suffering you have faced.”

The statement said the group had committed to “tangible action” to make cricket “more open and inclusive and to ensure effective governance.”

More details will be released next week.

The ECB has come under fire for its handling of the Yorkshire racism scandal.

Speaking on Friday, Harrison said he felt “very determined” to lead change throughout the game.

“As the father of two girls, I want to make sure I leave a game that has absolutely the right kind of safe environment for everyone to feel welcome and for everyone to have a sense of belonging,” he added.

“I received the endorsement of the game today.”

Lincolnshire President Rob Bradley told BBC Sport that there were “a lot of strong feelings” in the room about the racism crisis.

“I think the ECB is going to get down to work. This game has to stand up and represent everyone equally,” he said.

When asked if he wanted Harrison to stay, Bradley replied, “Yes, definitely. I think we have a lot to learn from this.”

Harrison also appeared in front of the DCMS committee on Tuesday and told MPs that English cricket is approaching an “emergency” for his inability to address racism.

He also said that the ECB had “fought” for the first-class game to “wake up.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said Thursday that the government could take a “nuclear option” of creating an independent regulator to oversee cricket.

Rafiq has also asked the ECB to make tangible changes.

Former Yorkshire player Rafiq spoke for the first time in September 2020, and the club launched an investigation the following month.

The handling and findings of the investigation, which concluded that Rafiq had been the victim of “racial harassment and intimidation”, confirming seven of the 43 accusations made by the player, were widely criticized. Yorkshire subsequently announced that no one would be punished at the club.

Since then, the ECB has suspended Yorkshire from hosting international matches.

Former Yorkshire academy players Irfan Amjad and Tabassum Bhatti have come forward following Rafiq’s testimony to discuss the alleged racist abuse they received at the club.

Former Players Zoheb Sharif and Maurice Chambers have alleged that they suffered racist abuse in Essex.

Rafiq he has apologized for historical anti-Semitic Facebook messages he sent in 2011, while Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales he has apologized for a photo that shows him in black makeup.

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