A parliamentary inquiry committee into racism in cricket has now recommended the UK government cut its funding to the England and Wales Cricket Board. The board must first prove itself to be serious about taking action against the “endemic” racism present across the sport, continued the recommendation.
The report, which had been compiled by the digital, culture, media, and sport select committee, commends former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq for his “brave” stance taken in exposing the racial abuse he had suffered during his time with the club. It however emphasises the importance of Rafiq’s testimony now leading to actual action and change.
The committee has also ordered the ECB to present quarterly updates to parliament on how it plans to tackle racism in sport. Unless real and ongoing progress can be seen, the ECB will risk losing the £2.2 million in funding it receives annually from Sport England.
Rafiq in November gave crushing evidence to the committee, thereby laying bare the full extent of the racism, bullying, and dehumanising treatment he had suffered over several years at Yorkshire Cricket Club. The committee said it agrees with Rafiq’s belief that the racism directed at him had not merely been the result of a personal dislike, but rather that it had been a reflection of a much broader issue across the entire game.
The committee furthermore said it believed completely eradicating racism from cricket will be a long and challenging road. This, it said, was established by how the media opted to report on Rafiq as well as the sort of language used in correspondence received by members of the committee during the inquiry.
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