ECB announce 12-point action plan to tackle racism after Rafiq’s allegations

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced a 12-point action plan to tackle racism within the sport.

Following the allegations made by ex-Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq, which included claims of institutionalised racism at the club, all 18 county sides met with ECB officials last week to discuss ways of tackling discrimination.

And in a released statement today (Friday), the authority have outlined a plan which all clubs will be expected to adhere to.

"Cricket today commits to a wide-ranging action plan to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity at all levels of the game," the statement read.

"The plan has been developed jointly by the ECB, MCC, the PCA, NCCA Ltd, the First Class Counties, Women’s Regional Hosts and the Recreational County Cricket network, as a game-wide response to discrimination within the game.

"While taking tangible and immediate action through the plan published today, cricket will continue to listen and learn from anyone who has experienced discrimination in the sport.

"Further work is being undertaken to examine these issues through the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket and ongoing investigations into racism allegations and the handling of complaints made by Azeem Rafiq and others."

The statement also clarified that the measures would amount to a 'series of immediate changes.'

Three of the objectives come under 'Understanding and educating more,' which will result in all clubs adopting a standardised approach to reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints.

The next two points relate to 'Addressing dressing room culture' – while point six is titled 'Removing barriers in talent pathways.'

Three actions come under 'Creating welcoming environments for all,' and a further three under 'Publishing localised EDI Action Plans within six months.'

The ECB has pledged regular updates on progress against delivery of the action plan and EDI goals, and also promised 'additional resources' to ensure significant steps are taken.

Barry O’Brien, ECB Interim Chair, said: ‘’There is no doubt this is a critical moment for cricket. After our all-game meeting last week, we said we must rise to the challenge and respond with one voice.

“We have now set out a series of game-wide commitments so that cricket can start to make the transformation that we know is needed. Change is required as a matter of urgency, but we also recognise that sustained action is required over months and years to achieve fundamental and long-lasting progress.”

Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, added: “For cricket truly to ‘connect communities and improve lives’ – our stated aim at the ECB – we must start by accepting that not enough has happened to make our game better, both inside our own walls and across the wider game. That is the only possible reaction to the powerful testimony of Azeem Rafiq and others in recent weeks."

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