England Cricket

ECB vows to 'change' cricket after equality report


প্রকাশের তারিখ: 20:55 সোমবার, 25 সেপ্টেম্বর, 2023

|| AFP ||

English cricket chiefs have vowed to "change" the game after a damning report revealed racism, sexism, classism and elitism in the sport.

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) published its report in June revealing "widespread" discrimination in the game.

The commission, set up by the England and Wales Cricket Board, made 44 recommendations, including a call for an "unqualified public apology" from the board for its failings, which the ECB made immediately.

The ICEC was established in 2021 following a racism scandal centred around the treatment of Pakistan-born bowler Azeem Rafiq at Yorkshire.

The ECB published its response to the ICEC report on Monday, saying it would be "taking forward most of the ICEC's recommendations".

It said it would set up a new cricket regulator, independent of the governing ECB, responsible for enforcement of regulations and carrying out investigations. 

The ECB also said it would invest a minimum of £25 million ($30 million) a year above forecasted women's revenues to grow women's and girls' cricket at all levels.

It also plans to enhance equality, diversity and inclusion standards for county teams.

That would include more ambitious targets for gender and ethnic diversity, with the power to reallocate matches from venues if there is evidence of non-compliance.

However, the ECB did not agree to all of the report's recommendations, including on equal pay for male and female players.

The ICEC report called for overall equal average pay at international level by 2030 and equal average pay and prize money in domestic cricket by 2029.

Match fees paid to England's women for international matches are already equal to those paid to England's men.

"The ICEC report was a massive moment for the sport and a responsibility we take extremely seriously, to bring about the changes we all want to see," said ECB chief executive Richard Gould.

"We think we are on a journey to try to change history in terms of what cricket looks like and will look like."

ECB chairman Richard Thompson repeated the organisation's previous apology, adding: "I reaffirm our absolute commitment that cricket will strive to become the most inclusive sport in England and Wales."

But Rafiq said the ECB response was inadequate.

"I expected the three-month response to be detailed, clear with strong commitments and unfortunately from what I've read it falls incredibly short and it's flimsy at best," he told Sky Sports.

"How independent is the new regulator? We don't have any detail about it.

"There are a couple of positives with commitments around women's cricket and match-fee equalisation, that should be the bare minimum. 

"These commitments are important, but is it going to solve the other issues that led us here in the first place? I don't think it will."