London, Nov 26 (IANS) The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a series of new measures to drive out discrimination, some of which are ‘a new independent commission for equality in cricket’, ‘a forum for race in cricket’ and ‘a new equality code of conduct’.
The measures, which form part of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan that will be introduced in the coming months, were approved by the ECB board on Tuesday.
According to the ECB, the independent commission will assist the board “in assessing the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket, and the actions needed to tackle these issues”.
An independent chairman will lead the commission which will also have independent members. The role of the commission involves bringing in “a diversity of thought and experience to provide constructive input and challenge to the ECB and the wider game”.
The Forum aims to provide a confidential, safe space through which the ECB can listen to, and learn from, the lived experiences of people from across the game. Building on work done this year and through our South Asian Action Plan, the Board has agreed that it is critical that we continue to listen and learn from these lived experiences, so that we can assess the future action required.
The new Equality Code will be adopted and enforced by all cricket organisations operating under the ECB’s jurisdiction, enabling discriminatory behaviour to be sanctioned through disciplinary processes. The code is being finalised and will be implemented before the 2021 season.
The measures fall under full Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2021-24 will be launched next year by the ECB.
“It will help the ECB achieve the goal of making cricket a game for everyone whatever their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, social background or whether they have a disability or not,” the ECB statement said.
“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,” said Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB.
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said: “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,” he added.
Recently, two former umpires, John Holder and Ismail Dawood, have accused the ECB of “institutionalised racism”.
Holder and Dawood had asked for an independent investigation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) “to challenge organisations like the ECB”, reports BBC Sport.
Earlier, in September, former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq had accused the club of “institutionalised racism”. Rafiq, who played for Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018, in a interview to ESPNcricinfo, had claimed that the abuse he suffered left him close to committing suicide and that his reports of racist abuse were “ignored” by the club at the time.