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Monday, November 29, 2021

Diversity training for all cricketers to form part of ECB’s five-point plan to tackle discrimination

All players, staff, umpires and coaches involved in cricket from the England team to the village green will undergo continuous training in diversity as part of the sport’s five-point plan to make it “best in class” to tackle discrimination in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq revelations. 

There will also be a “full review of dressing room culture in all international and domestic teams” conducted immediately that will be published when completed and used to “inform future training” according to the document due to be released by the England & Wales Cricket Board on Thursday and seen by Telegraph Sport. 

The document pledges a five-point plan covering “12 tangible actions” covering whistleblowing, dressing room culture, the diversity of talent pathways, stadium environments and boardroom governance. 

The ECB hope it will “help create a culture to eliminate discrimination”. The ECB say their “aim is to make cricket the most open and inclusive sport in the country.” The ECB will commit £25m to fund the plan over five years.

Under a section called “game wide commitments” the ECB pledges to roll out diversity training to everyone involved in the sport. “This will cover all staff, volunteers, recreational club officials, umpires, directors, and coaches,” it says.

The plan pledges to formalise a whistleblowing procedure within three months and “adopt a standardised approach to reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints and allegations.” A new anti-discrimination unit, like the sports anti-corruption unit, will be established within six months “to ensure we create the right culture to tackle discrimination in all its forms” and provide “guidance to counties” to be “best in class”.

It emerged last week that a reporting hotline set up by the ECB’s Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket had received more than 1,000 reports in a week, with allegations made against each of the 18 counties. 

Several Asian players have come forward since Rafiq’s evidence to a government select committee to outline their experiences, heaping pressure on the ECB to act. The board was threatened by the government last week with the “nuclear option” of having an independent regulator appointed to oversee the sport if it did not tackle the problem of race properly. The ECB will hope the proposals outlined today will calm the situation and buy time while they implement their plans. 

Those will include sticks such as threatening the major Test venues with losing lucrative England men’s and women’s international matches if they fail to reach certain minimum standards on diversity and withholding parts of the annual payment to the counties.

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