Yorkshire County cricket have backed the new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan announced by the national cricket board, the club will also be implementing the recommendations after the investigation into allegations made by Azeem Rafiq is concluded.
The club were accused of institutional racism by Rafiq who had two spells in Yorkshire earlier this year.
A thorough investigation was launched and recently heard evidence from Mr Rafiq.
Reacting to the announcement by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Yorkshire County Cricket said:
“Cricket enjoys support from diverse audiences across the world, however, it is clear we must do much more to improve inclusion across all forms and levels of the game if we are to truly reflect the communities who contribute so much to the sport.
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club wholeheartedly support the ECB’s aims to further their work on an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2021-24 and want to be part of ensuring meaningful change across the game. We recognise that County clubs are crucial to the success of the plan and will look to apply its actions, initiatives and targets across our own organisation. We already support the ECB in a number of their projects but there is much more we can and must do to properly address issues of diversity and equality in our sport. As part of our commitment to this Action Plan, our board will look to appoint a Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the New Year with responsibility for delivering meaningful, measurable initiatives across Yorkshire Cricket.
As well as the ECB actions, we will also seek to implement the recommendations due to be made by the investigation panel considering the allegations made by our former player, Azeem Rafiq. This is an important investigation and we have committed to a full and thorough process to provide an in-depth set of recommendations which we now hope to publish in early 2021.”
The new measures by the ECB include
A new independent Commission for Equality in Cricket: to assist the ECB Board in assessing the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket, and the actions needed to tackle these issues. This will be led by an independent Chair and will have independent members.
A Forum for Race in Cricket: 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.
A new Equality Code of Conduct: to 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 now being finalised in consultation with the wider game for implementation before the 2021 season.
The full Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2021-24 will be launched next year and will guide the ECB and the wider game in making changes around leadership, governance and education and increase visibility and opportunity. 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.
Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB, said: “The primary aim of the ECB’s Inspiring Generations strategy is to make cricket a game for everyone and many actions are well underway and helping to make cricket more diverse and inclusive. While continuing with this work and increasing its impact, we are equally clear that all discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable, and are committed to drive it out of the game through better governance, education, training, role modelling and behavioural change, but also through disciplinary action when necessary. 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. Taken together, these steps will ensure that the ECB achieves lasting change.”