Lord Patel: Yorkshire County Cricket Club can build a 'beacon' for inclusivity with plans to support young female players and new branding revealed

Yorkshire can be a "beacon" for inclusivity and equality, the region's county cricket club chairman has said, as plans are revealed to drive opportunity for young female players.

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCC), having been rocked by allegations over racial harassment and bullying, is moving to take a step forward with new sponsors 'Clean Slate'.

As branding was revealed for the partnership, first of its kind with an Indian sponsor, plans were outlined to fund cricket kits inspiring young female players to step into the game.

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The club, said chairman Lord Patel, stands for more than cricket to its communities, with the opportunity to inspire futures, while creating a "living bridge" between the UK and India.

Clean Slate branding unveiled at Headingley Cricket Ground.

He said: "We have had a Richter scale level nine earthquake - everything got flattened. I could build this city back as it was. Or there's a real opportunity here to attempt to be 'the best in the class'.

"Of course the foundations have been rocked by what happened here. We must not forget that, to ensure it never happens again," he added.

"We can build something new. To be the beacon, and the template for others to follow."

He said he was often "bemused" that women and girls - half the population - could be "forgotten" in sport, with such participation drives, and kit funding, having long been on his agenda.

Clean Slate Founders Karnesh Ssharma & Amreesh Chandra with the Northern Diamonds team.

He said: "If you're 10 or 11 years old, and your parents can't afford it, at Yorkshire we will give it to you for free, with support, and the role models, to show there is a career here."

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Principal sponsor

YCCC signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Clean Slate earlier this year, in what is believed to be the first such link with an Indian business granted significant naming rights at a UK sports venue.

The new branding was revealed yesterday by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracey Brabin for Headingley's East Stand and main pavilion, now known as the Clean Slate Pavilion.

The entertainment streaming business, with aims to empower women in the film industry as Clean Slate Studioz, said its mission was across culture, from sport to education.

In this first step, it will provide free cricket kits to young female players. It also announced the prospect of a community enterprise in the county known as Clean House - promoting, building and investing through film, arts, sports and education, with more details to be revealed following meetings with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region LEP on Tuesday.

Founder Karnesh Ssharma, speaking of challenges that many can face in "playing the game they love", said he was passionate about inspiring women and girls to pursue ambitions.

He said: "We want to take that message to communities and open up participation for young women and girls in sports and culture. It's in our DNA."

Building a 'bridge'

Co-founder Amreesh A. Chandra, meanwhile, spoke of opportunities opened up under bi-lateral agreements between India and the UK, with youth sports as one of the key pillars.

The launch of Clean House, coming on the heels of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to India, he added, only empowers the two countries' relationship.

He said: "As the governments of both India and the UK are at the cusp of signing a historic trade deal, we are confident the partnership between Clean Slate and YCCC will open the floodgates for further cooperation for social, business, and cultural collaboration between the countries.

"This chapter sets the momentum for such relationships to happen."

Mayor Tracey Brabin said she hoped this would be the start of a long relationship for the region, in fostering stronger international links between cultural and creative businesses and India.

"I hope Clean Slate is the first of many Indian businesses that see the value in partnering with organisations in our region," she said.

Sport, culture, and the creative sector can be a great force for promoting inclusivity."

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