• Sunday, December 03, 2023

UK News

Azeem Rafiq criticises ECB’s ‘flimsy’ plans to address racism

By: Eastern Eye

FORMER Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq, whose allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire rocked English cricket, said the ECB’s response to the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) on Monday was inadequate.

“I expected the threemonth response to be detailed and clear with strong commitments. Unfortunately, from what I’ve read, it falls incredibly short and it’s flimsy at best,” Rafiq said. “How independent is the new regulator? We don’t have any detail about it… There are a couple of positives with commitments around women’s cricket and match-fee equalisation, that should be the bare minimum.

“These commitments are important, but is it going to solve the other issues that led us here in the first place? I don’t think it will.”

Rafiq welcomed some proposed initiatives as “a step in the right direction”. However, he questioned whether the actions would “stop the overt racism that I experienced”.

“People are still getting in touch about experiences and really struggling to know where to go and who to trust. A stronger response today would have helped change that.”

Despite Rafiq’s reservations, other prominent figures felt the ECB had taken positive steps to change the culture of the game.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali said: “The ECB have been trying for a while, but probably haven’t got it right. But now, finally, they have got it right with the projects they are starting to invest in. It’s a great opportunity for more people and more diverse people and it’s exactly what we want in this country, that sport and cricket is for everybody.”

The Yorkshire chief execuive, Stephen Vaughan, added: “While there is still a long way to go and much to be done, we are committed to our mission and will work with the ECB to do everything we can to learn from the past and use our hardearned experience to help support other clubs on the journey to improving standards across the game and making cricket a sport for everyone.”

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