England and Wales Cricket Board introduces commission for equality

Tom Harrison
Tom Harrison was appointed ECB chief executive in 2014

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a range of measures designed to increase diversity in the game, including the formation of an independent commission for equality.

A number of allegations of racism have been made against the English game.

The governing body will also establish a "Forum for Race", which it says will exist to "listen to and learn from" experiences of those within the game.

It will also introduce an equality code of conduct.

In June, against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement, former England batsman Michael Carberry said that racism is "rife" in the game.

The following month, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said that English cricket had to face some "uncomfortable truths".

More recently, Azeem Rafiq accused his former team Yorkshire of "institutionalised racism" and the county have since opened an inquiry.

Last week, ex-umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood pointed to the fact that the last appointment of a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) umpire to the ECB's first-class list came 28 years ago.

Now, the ECB says it is committing to "further action to drive out discrimination and increase diversity".

The independent commission will "assist the ECB board in assessing the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket, and the actions needed to tackle these issues". It will be led by an independent chair and have independent members.

"This year we have listened to many people from across the game and beyond, to understand where we must be better in making our sport inclusive and diverse, and tackling discrimination," said Harrison.

"The measures we have announced today will launch, build on and accelerate the work we have already done in recent years.

"We will continue to learn how, as a game, we become more representative of the communities we strive to serve."

ECB chairman Ian Watmore added: "We are clear that all discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable, and are committed to drive it out of the game through better governance, education, training, role modelling and behavioural change, but also through disciplinary action when necessary.

"Continuing to listen to the experiences of people, whether positive or negative, and engaging with independent expertise will help to inform, strengthen and challenge our thinking and plans as we move forward. Taken together, these steps will ensure that the ECB achieves lasting change."

Yorkshire were among those welcoming the ECB's move and said "it is clear we must do much more to improve inclusion across all forms and levels of the game if we are to truly reflect the communities who contribute so much to the sport".

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