Yorkshire: ECB must prevent ‘return to business as usual’, say MPs

Home » Yorkshire: ECB must prevent ‘return to business as usual’, say MPs

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) must “closely monitor” Yorkshire to prevent a “return to business as usual”, say MPs.

It comes after the re-election of chair Colin Graves, whose first spell at Yorkshire was during the period for which the club was last year fined for failing to address the systemic use of discriminatory or racist language.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said it was concerned the ECB’s commitment to tackling discrimination “may not translate into action”.

In its Equity in Cricket report, released on Friday, the committee said: “We expect the ECB to closely monitor Yorkshire CCC to their work and ensure that there is no return to the ‘business as usual’ that allowed a culture of discrimination to take root and thrive at the club.

“We urge the ECB and the cricket regulatory to pay particular attention to the future performance of Yorkshire CCC in relation to inequality.

“The committee will take a close interest in their performance.”

A report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) in 2023 delivered its findings following a two-year investigation, making 44 recommendations after uncovering “widespread” racism, sexism, classism and elitism in English and Welsh cricket.

ECB chair Richard Thompson said last year’s ICEC report was a “wake-up call” and an opportunity to “reset cricket”.

In response to Friday’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, Thompson said: “We welcome the ongoing support and scrutiny from DCMS following the publication of the ICEC Report.

“We are keen to forge ahead and continue with the changes we have already been implementing in our ambition to become the most inclusive sport in England and Wales.”

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has recommended the ECB publishes a progress report on the anniversary of the publication of the ICEC report, released on 27 June 2023, addressing each of the recommendations.

Graves, whose first spell as Yorkshire chairman came between 2012 and 2015, was controversially re-elected at the cash-strapped club after Yorkshire’s members accepted a loan offer.

The 76-year-old’s anticipated return was described as “a disaster” and a “backward step” by one MP in January.

Graves, ECB chair between 2015 and 2020, has apologised “personally and unreservedly” for the Yorkshire racism scandal.

He said following his re-election at Yorkshire: “It is my personal pledge to members and to the entire Yorkshire public that, regardless of background, community or ethnicity, all will be welcome in the fully inclusive culture and environment of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

Former Yorkshire player Rafiq said English cricket was “institutionally racist”, and racist language was used “constantly” at the club.

Committee chair Dame Caroline Dinenage said: “The start of the county cricket season is always a time for optimism, and we hope that members at Headingley can look forward to a successful future, with a board committed to a member-led club and a continued focus on tackling discrimination.”

Dinenage added: “The ECB should keep a close eye on progress to ensure Yorkshire continues going down the road to reform.”

Also on Friday, the UK government announced a £35m investment into grassroots and state school cricket which it is hoped will enable more than 900,000 young people to play cricket over the next five years.

ECB chair Thompson said: “We are delighted by today’s announcement from government which gives significant support to our schools strategy, which will allow us, with our partners, to take cricket into even more state schools in some of the most underserved communities.”

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