• Friday, June 09, 2023


EXCLUSIVE: “Time of reckoning for cricket”

By: Barnie Choudhury

Chair of English cricket racism inquiry urges fans to have their say

The chair of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) has warned of “a time of reckoning for cricket”.

In March, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) appointed Cindy Butts to investigate racism, gender and social class bias. 

The deadline to provide views is Tuesday (21), and she is urging anyone involved in the sport to give evidence to the inquiry.

“We’ve had commitment from the ECB that they will seriously consider our recommendations,” Butts told Eastern Eye.

“Let’s be frank, we’ve seen Azeem Rafiq come forward and bravely talked about his experiences.

“We’ve seen how much interest and concern that there is out there, and I think that this is a time of reckoning for cricket.

“They [ECB] recognise that they need to address the issues that are going on, and the commission is a really positive way of being able to do that.”

Yorkshire face charge from ECB over handling of Azeem Rafiq case
Azeem Rafiq (Photo: Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

In November (16), Rafique told the sport select committee about the racism he faced while playing for Yorkshire.

Butts recognised that people may be reluctant to come forward to speak about their experiences.

“We’ve considered that really carefully, so people can respond to the survey confidentially and anonymously,” she said.

“They can give their views and present their experiences.

“We will absolutely make sure that when we report next year summer that we will ensure that anyone who has said they want to be treated confidentially and anonymously, won’t be able to be identified within the report.”

The independent chair agreed that the most important thing was that cricket fans and those involved in the game have their say.

“We’ll spend some time analysing the information that’s come forward and determine what that tells us about cricket,” said Butts.

“That will form part of our body of evidence.

“It’s not the only evidence. We’re also taking oral evidence from individuals and organisations.

“We want them to give us their views, their experiences, their ideas about things that we can practically do to make sustainable change, that cricket is truly a game for everybody.

“There will be oral evidence, hearings, and early next year we’ll be launching a written survey as well.”

You can contribute to the commission’s findings here.

“We’re encouraging people to be as honest and as open as they feel able to, and they can do it and do that in a safe environment where we can take all of that evidence,” the ICEC chair said.

“It will help to contribute to our understanding, but also finding solutions to the problems that exist.”

Eastern Eye

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