This stems from a special sitting of the all-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that will be remembered for the harrowing testimony of former bowler Azeem Rafiq about the racism which he suffered from team-mates and coaches while playing for Yorkshire – and his personal torment when the club failed to act on his complaints.
And while the DCMS committee is giving Lord Kamlesh Patel, Yorkshire’s new chair, time to change the club’s rotten culture, it has concluded, as many long suspected, that racism is rife throughout all levels of a sport that is also steeped in Asian communities.
As today’s report says: “Changes introduced by Lord Patel... give room for optimism, but alone cannot eradicate racism in the game. Public funding for cricket must depend on real leadership and progress by the ECB to tackle abhorrent behaviour, not just in the dressing rooms, but also in the stands.”
Given this, the DCMS committee is right to demand regular updates from YCCC and the England and Wales Cricket Board – its members are still annoyed that no official from Headingley gave evidence to MPs last November. Nothing less will suffice if Rafiq’s courage as a whistleblower is to be a turning point for cricket – and wider society – with the onus still on Yorkshire to prove that its own house is totally in order before it wins back the right to stage international fixtures at Headingley
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