Racism a societal issue, need to do more to eradicate it: Root

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Leeds, Aug 23 (IANS) England skipper Joe Root has called on English cricket to do more to eradicate racial discrimination from the society days after his former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq’s complaint was upheld by a panel investigating charges of racism levelled by him on the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“I can’t really speculate or comment too much on a report I have not seen. But, as a former team-mate and friend, it’s hard to see Azeem hurting as he is,” said Root during a virtual interaction with the media.

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“More than anything, it just shows that there is a lot of work we have to do in the game. It is a societal issue in my opinion. We have seen it in other sports, we have seen it in other areas,” added Root.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club had on Thursday acknowledged that Rafiq was victim of racism. The club apologised to the Pakistan-born English cricketer.

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The county issued a statement following findings of an investigation conducted by international law firm Squire Patton Boggs that looked into the allegations made by the player.

Some of the allegations of racism were upheld by the panel.

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“As a sport, we have got to keep trying to find ways of making sure this is not a conversation that keeps happening. We have got to find ways of creating more opportunities, making our game more diverse, educate better,” added Root.

“I don’t think that just comes from players and administrators — that is from everyone in the game. There has got to be a want and a will to do that and it is something we have to prioritise as a sport.”

The 30-year-old England skipper, who became England’s second highest run-getter, said that the moment of unity, which began at the start of this season, will continue to be England’s response to racism.

“I think it is really important we do that. We have to keep showing that we need to create opportunities to show the sport is for everyone, that we are desperate to make everyone feel welcome to it.

“I know we keep talking about it but I am desperate to do something about it and hopefully in time you can see that come into action.”

The right-handed England No. 4 batsman said that the team has to do more to eradicate the scourge of racism.

“Hopefully, through small things we can do at the minute on the field and around the game, but we have to do more, I get that.

“We are very keen on doing more — as a team it is a big focus for us to make the game for everyone and to make it the best we can and as welcoming as we can.

–IANS

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