ECB chairman Ian Watmore hoping for ‘lasting change’ from measures to tackle discrimination

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Ian Watmore hopes the implementation of a series of measures designed to root out discrimination and encourage diversity in the sport will bring about “lasting change”.

Cricket has faced some troubling claims in recent months, with ex-England batsman Michael Carberry saying racism is “rife” in the sport while Azeem Rafiq alleged he was racially discriminated against while with Yorkshire.

There have also been allegations of institutional racism at the ECB, led by former international umpire John Holder and aspiring umpire Ish Dawood, who said recently the path to officiating has been blocked to non-white candidates.

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In a bid to increase inclusion and diversity through its ‘Inspiring Generations’ strategic plan, the ECB announced a new commission, led by an independent chair with independent members, will be created to help the governing body assess the evidence of inequalities and discrimination within cricket and what is required to tackle these issues.

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A forum for race in cricket is also being set up to provide a confidential and safe space which the ECB says it can “listen to and learn from” the experiences of people from across the game, while a new Equality Code of Conduct is in the process of being finalised and will be introduced before the start of the 2021 domestic season.

Watmore said: “The primary aim of the ECB’s Inspiring Generations strategy is to make cricket a game for everyone and many actions are well under way and helping to make cricket more diverse and inclusive.

“While continuing with this work and increasing its impact, we are equally clear that all discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable, and are committed to drive it out of the game through better governance, education, training, role
modelling and behavioural change, but also through disciplinary action when necessary.

“Continuing to listen to the experiences of people, whether positive or negative, and engaging with independent expertise will help to inform, strengthen and challenge our thinking and plans as we move forward.

“Taken together, these steps will ensure that the ECB achieves lasting change.”

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison added: “This year we have listened to many people from across the game and beyond, to understand where we must be better in making our sport inclusive and diverse, and tackling discrimination.

“The measures we have announced today, and the broader Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan we will launch, build on and accelerate the work we have already done in recent years.

“We will continue to learn how, as a game, we become more representative of the communities we strive to serve.”

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