By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Following the revelations by Azeem Rafiq of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club to the Parliamentary Select Committee of the UK Digital Culture Media and Sport, the Committee has just published its Report.
This Report recommends that the UK Government should limit public funds for cricket, unless there is “continuous, demonstrable progress” on eradicating “deep-seated racism” in the sport.
The chairman of the Committee stated that Rafiq’s experiences were “typical of an endemic problem across the whole of cricket.” A damning indictment indeed!
The Report, whilst welcoming the changes made by Lord Patel, who replaced the former chairman at the Yorkshire Club, stated that they alone “could not eradicate racism”. The current situation was a “watershed for cricket” and that “those who love and support the game are part of the solution and must play their part”.
Rafiq welcomed the Report and noted that it made clear the responsibilities of the England Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in tackling racism in the sport.
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the ECB, stated that the link between Government funding and demonstrating change in the sport was “right and proper”.
And added that he is “very confident that in the not-so-distant future we can become an exemplar of the kind of behaviours that promote social integration and understanding”.
Of course, time alone will tell whether, in fact, this happens!