Racism in cricket: Clare Connor to lead dressing-room review

1 year ago 159
Clare ConnorClare Connor played more than 100 times for England, captaining on 79 occasions

Clare Connor will lead a review into dressing-room culture in professional men's and women's cricket as part a bid to tackle racism and discrimination.

The review comes as part of an action plan announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board following allegations by Azeem Rafiq and other players.

Connor is the ECB's managing director of women's cricket and a former England captain.

The review will begin in February and run across the 2022 season.

As part of evidence given to a Digital, Culture, Media & Sport select committee in November, former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq said the English game is "institutionally racist".

He also alleged that the term 'Kevin' was once used in the England dressing room to describe non-white people.

The ECB subsequently published a five-point plan - including "12 tangible actions" - and pledged £25m over five years to combat the issues of race and discrimination.

On Tuesday, the governing body issued an update on each of the 12 actions, with "the intention to provide further information about the actions underway across the cricket network".

Connor will work with men's director of cricket Ashley Giles, the 18 first-class counties, the Professional Cricketers' Association and external experts.

The ECB said the review will "examine dressing room culture(s) across elite cricket in England and Wales and make recommendations to address discriminatory attitudes and behaviours".

A new, independently operated whistle-blowing system for complaints of a discriminatory nature will be established by the end of February. A new anti-discrimination unit will be operational by the end of May.

Also included in the action plan is work with each of the first-class counties to review crowd behaviour.

In January, the DCMS committee report said the government should limit public funding for cricket unless there is "continuous, demonstrable progress" on eradicating "deep-seated racism".

The ECB has also confirmed it will work with anti-discrimination group Kick It Out to identify and tackle issues of equality, diversity and inclusion in cricket.

The ECB and Sky Sports are putting forward £100,000 each to support Kick It Out's project, which will be its first outside football.

"Cricket has been highlighted over the last year as a sport potentially in need of a new direction, when it comes to driving inclusion and equality," said Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett.

"We want to use the significant expertise we have developed in this area in football to see if there is an opportunity for us to support in cricket."

The ECB stripped Yorkshire of the right to host England matchesin November over the club's handling of the allegations made by Rafiq.

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has said he is "very confident" the ban will be lifted by this summer and has warned the club faces a "huge financial crisis" if it is not.

ECB deputy chair Martin Darlow told a DCMS select committee hearing on Tuesday that a vote on governance changes at Yorkshire's extraordinary general meeting on 2 February would be key in terms of restoring international matches at Headingley.

Asked whether the failure to adopt the changes would mean the ban remaining in place, Darlow said: "I was asked this on Saturday at a Yorkshire members' forum and my response to that was that you are not voting for the return of international cricket, you're voting for the future of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and it's the right thing to do."

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