ECB to unveil delayed action plan on racism following Azeem Rafiq’s claims

Cricket’s game-wide response to tackling racism is expected to be unveiled on Friday after two delays already in releasing a 12-point action plan.

An emergency summit of key sports decision makers took place last week, a few days after Azeem Rafiq appeared before the digital, culture, media and sport select committee where he detailed his own in depth. experiences of racism in cricket.

England and Wales Cricket Council chief executive Tom Harrison, who was also present for the parliamentary appearance, emerged from last Friday’s ‘all play’ meeting at the Kia Oval, determined to take cricket out of the crisis despite its position coming under scrutiny.

A lack of detail accompanied a statement that insisted that “tangible” change was coming and after Harrison insisted that a 12-point action plan would be released on Wednesday, it was pushed back on a day before a further delay of at least 24 hours occurs. .

This has been attributed to ‘little details to be worked out’ with a nod to the happiness of ‘the whole network’ being key, but cricket’s fight against racism was dealt with further when Mehmooda Duke stepped down as chairman of Leicestershire with immediate effect on Thursday.

Duke was one of only two people from ethnic minority groups to occupy such a role in the 18 first-class counties and as she was due to step down in March, her farewell statement admitted: “Cricket has been torn by recent events and I am deeply saddened by the pain felt by the individuals within our game. ”

No indication was given on the reason for his early resignation, but with the ECB’s 12-point plan expected to contain demands for a specific minimum of ethnic minority representatives in the respective county councils, Duke’s exit is a blow to this goal.

It is understood that clubs and counties that violate the new rules risk having their ECB funding revoked.

Cricket has been torn apart by recent events and I am deeply saddened by the pain felt by individuals within our game.

Mehmooda duke

Meanwhile, the Telegraph reported that all clubs from the local level will be required to undergo diversity training, which is similar to what Warwickshire will be implementing after completing its investigation into the allegations that the current player Tim Bresnan has repeatedly used racist language towards Rafiq.

Former England international Bresnan denied the allegations last week and in a new statement apologized to the former Yorkshire off spinner and acknowledged “there has to be a shift in awareness and understanding culture in the game ”, while committing to support the next generation. of cricketers passing at Edgbaston.

Warwickshire President Mark McCafferty confirmed that the club had spoken with Rafiq and reminded Bresnan of their expectations of him and revealed that all senior and varsity players, coaches and members of the management team at the in the broad sense would participate in additional training in cultural awareness and appreciation.

Michael Vaughan, who has also been accused of racism by Rafiq and has categorically denied the allegations, has already been banned from the BBC squad for the upcoming Ashes tour and inadvertently forced BT Sport to reconsider his intention to use the Fox Sports commentary for the series.

Vaughan is currently on the Australian broadcaster’s team and although BT Sport owns the exclusive UK television rights for all five tests, he planned to take the audio stream from Fox Sports.

Still, in light of recent developments regarding Rafiq’s claims, the post is under review and BT Sport may use audio from Channel 7, which has Sir Ian Botham and Ricky Ponting as part of their setup.

Elsewhere, former Middlesex and Durham bowler Simon Hughes has resigned from The Cricketer magazine following criticism for his comments in a podcast regarding Rafiq’s racism allegations in Yorkshire involving Gary Ballance.

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