• Friday, June 24, 2022

CRICKET

ECB appoints Muslim inclusion adviser post racism scandal

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq recounted the ‘institutionally racist’ English cricket culture before the parliamentary committee last October.

FILE PHOTO: England’s Adil Rashid (L) and Moeen Ali attend a training session at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on June 24, 2019 (SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

THE England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has appointed a Muslim inclusion body as an adviser, a report said. 

Nujum Sports, which devised the Muslim athlete charter, will work with the men’s and women’s England teams, the 18 counties and the recreational game, the BBC reported.

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told MPs in October last year that English cricket was “institutionally racist”.

Nujum Sports was founded in August 2020 by former Football Association officer Ebadur Rahman. It was set up with the aim of ensuring Muslim athletes have every opportunity to fulfil their potential.

In 2021, it devised the Muslim athletes charter, a 10-point framework through which clubs can assess whether their facilities and practices cater adequately to Muslims.

Kate Miller, the ECB’s chief diversity and communications officer, said that Nujum Sports has assisted the ECB, particularly in preparing for Ramadan, and helped it to support many clubs and players with practical advice and guidance.

“Ensuring that cricket is open, inclusive and accessible for people of all faiths is critical to us. Working with organisations like Nujum will allow us to learn more, connect better and challenge ourselves to continually improve our work in equity, diversity and inclusion,” Miller was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Rafiq first spoke publicly about his experiences of racism within cricket in September 2020, and others then revealed the discrimination they faced.

Following Rafiq’s DCMS testimony, there were changes in Yorkshire’s leadership, Headingley was temporarily barred from hosting international matches and the ECB put together a 12-point plan to tackle racism in the game.

According to the report, Nujum Sports will work with the ECB for an initial period of 12 months by providing training, education and practical guidance on Muslim inclusion matters.

Rahman, the organisation’s founder and chief executive, said: “Cricket deserves to be loved and played by everyone. Equality, diversity and inclusion aren’t checklists we need to tick off but rather tools to help us in today’s ever-demanding world.

“Cricket changes the lives of everyone associated with it, we are proud to be working with the ECB in making this game not only loved by our communities but a gateway for our communities to excel. Muslim athletes throughout the country need to see leadership and support; with the ECB, we aim to deliver this and more,” he was quoted as saying by the broadcaster.

England all-rounder and Nujum ambassador Moeen Ali said that his faith helped him to overcome highs and lows in his career.

“It’s time we recognise the value of allowing Muslim cricketers to be who they are and allow them to come together in this family with a feeling of trust and confidence,” he said.

Eastern Eye

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