Cricket bosses 'truly sorry' to Azeem Rafiq as they promise action over racism

Cricket bosses have said they are "truly sorry" to Azeem Rafiq and other victims of discrimination - and promised to publish a plan of action "to win back trust" next week.

Azeem Rafiq giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday.
Azeem Rafiq giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday.

A game-wide meeting on Friday saw the chairs of the 18 first-class counties joined by representatives of the 21 non-first class cricket boards, the national counties cricket association and the MCC meet with the ECB and the Professional Cricketers' Association to discuss their response to the game's growing racism and bullying scandal which has been sparked by the evidence of Mr Rafiq about his experiences at Yorkshire CCC.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the group said a plan setting out "tangible action" in response to the crisis will be published next week.

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The statement said: "Azeem Rafiq has shone a light on our game that has shocked, shamed and saddened us all.

"Racism and discrimination is a blight on our game. To Azeem and all those who have experienced any form of discrimination, we are truly sorry. Our sport did not welcome you, our game did not accept you as we should have done. We apologise unreservedly for your suffering.

"We stand together against discrimination in all its forms, and are united as a sport to act. We will continue to listen, and make swift, positive changes to the culture of the game. We will embrace and celebrate differences everywhere, knowing that with diversity, we are stronger.

"Today, as a game, we discussed a series of tangible commitments to make cricket a sport where everyone feels safe, and everyone feels included. We will now finalise the detail and publish these actions next week.

"Our game must win back your trust.”

The promised actions will be focused on "stamping out discrimination, making cricket more open and inclusive and ensuring effective governance and leadership".

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has been under pressure over his response to the crisis.

Following the meeting, Harrison insisted he has no plans to leave his role as ECB chief executive and wants to help cricket address its problems.

“I did receive the backing of the game today,” Harrison said on Sky News outside the Oval after the meeting.

“I feel very determined to lead this change through the game and make sure this plight is addressed in the game.

“As a father of two girls, I do want to make I leave a game that has absolutely the right safe kind of environment for everyone to feel welcomed and for everyone to feel a sense of belonging in.”

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