Yorkshire CCC crisis: Government 'will intervene further' if ECB fails to act

A Minister has warned the Government "will not hesitate to intervene further" if the England and Wales Cricket Board fail to take effective action over the Yorkshire CCC racism scandal.

Yorkshire CCC continues to be under the spotlight over the racism scandal.

The issue was raised in Parliament following former player Azeem Rafiq's testimony to MPs this week about being the victim of racism and bullying at the county.

Minister Nigel Huddleston said the Government had been having "very frank conversations" with the ECB and its chief executive Tom Harrison. over the issue in recent weeks.

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"Tom Harrison has promised me that with every fibre of his being he will take action here,” he said.

"We will judge them on their deeds and not their words, and if they fail to act appropriately we will not hesitate to intervene further."

Mr Huddleston's comments came after Julian Knight MP, who chaired the select committee hearing in which Mr Rafiq had given his evidence, raised concerns that former Yorkshire CCC chair Roger Hutton had not read a previously-published inquiry called the Fletcher Report into the lack of inclusivity at the county.

Mr Knight added: “Does he agree with me the response to Mr Rafiq’s brave testimony in this House has not only to be to clear out the Augean stables in Yorkshire, but to ensure the institutionally racist blocking of minority community talent is stopped forever? We need a Kick It Out for cricket, right now.”

Mr Huddleston said Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to the select committee was “harrowing” and “difficult to hear”.

He said: “The Fletcher report, which was pretty old, was clearly not acted upon, it should have been.”

Shadow culture minister Alison McGovern claimed those who failed to deal with cultures of racism in sport will “ruin our country’s reputation, not build it”.

She asked the Government to put on the record its conversations about the issue with the Equality and Human Rights Commission - which is considering launching an investigation into Yorkshire CCC.

Ms McGovern said: “I want to return briefly to the situation in cricket because I think the lesson is for all sports that those who failed to deal with cultures of racism and prejudice will ruin our country’s reputation, not build it.

“I know that you (Commons Speaker) and I, all members and ministers and shadow ministers in this House were heartbroken listening to Azeem Rafi yesterday, but as the minister himself said it’s deeds, not words, that will make a difference.

“That goes for the Government as well. Can I ask the minister if he will place in the Commons library any correspondence that he has had with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and can he tell the House what discussions he has had with them about their powers and resources, and whether they are enough to deal with what we know and have known for a long time are chronic problems in sport?”

Mr Huddleston replied: “I will happily place documents that are appropriate, I cannot promise to put every single document or discussion as she knows there are sometimes confidentiality and frank discussions concerns that may inhibit our ability to place every single piece of correspondence.”

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