Yorkshire MP calls for investigation into racism at all levels of cricket

Yorkshire MP has called on the England and Wales Cricket Board to investigate racism at all levels of the sport and said the Yorkshire County Cricket Club scandal is just “the tip of the iceberg”.

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, said players and coaches across the country have suffered discrimination

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, said players and coaches across the country have suffered discrimination and a “root and branch” review is needed to establish the scale of the issue and what can be done to address it.

The Labour MP also believes systemic racism could be preventing talented British-Asian players from turning professional, as they make up around 30 per cent of recreational cricketers in England and Wales but just four per cent of county players.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The ECB said it had already launched the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket and any player or coach who has suffered racism should share their experiences.

Naz Shah wants the England and Wales Cricket Board to investigate racism at all levels of the sport following the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Ms Shah said: “The ECB needs to do a root-and-branch review and work out why with players at the lower level there is a high representation of black and ethnic minority players, but as it gets to the top, it dwindles.

“There’s no poverty of talent in the South Asian communities of cricketers and there’s no lack of aspiration. It’s the structures that don’t allow that aspiration to be realised.”

It comes as the crisis at Yorkshire deepens in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

England captain Joe Root joined the calls for lasting change at Headingley on Thursday. Chief executive Mark Arthur then resigned and joined Roger Hutton, previously Yorkshire chair, in leaving the club.

Read More

Read More
Yorkshire CCC crisis: Mohinderpal Sethi QC appointed to lead whistleblowing inve...

Director of cricket Martyn Moxon has been signed off with “stress-related illness” while first-team coach Andrew Gale is currently suspended pending an investigation into an offensive but unrelated historic tweet.

At Essex, John Faragher resigned from his role as chairman after he was accused of using racist language at a board meeting in 2017. He denies the allegation.

An ECB spokesman said: "We are committed to ensuring that cricket is a game for everyone and are formally investigating both Yorkshire’s inquiry and the handling of it and further sanctions may apply following the conclusions of our own investigation.

"The club serves a huge British South Asian community, and now needs to turn itself around and become all that it should be for local communities and beyond.

“On a wider scale, we had already set up the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket in March 2021 to evaluate the state of equity in the game. The call for evidence is now open and we encourage all those who have experienced any form of discrimination to share their experiences.

This will help to shape the ICEC’s report, which will include recommendations to the ECB on the steps to take to improve equity in the game.

“While there is still a long way to go and much more work to do, through our South Asian Action Plan and other measures we have taken we are already increasing opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to advance in coaching and through playing pathways, with 17 per cent of players in County Academy systems being from South Asian backgrounds in 2019/20.

"We have also started piloting a new Community Talent Champions programme to identify and develop players of potential who may not have had the opportunity to be seen in traditional clubs and league structures.”