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Parliament to Cricket board: fight racism or risk budget cut

England cricket

 

Cricket has been warned it will lose public money if it does not clean up its act on racism in a withering condemnation of the English game.

A report by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee following Azeem Rafiq’s appearance in front of MPs two months ago concludes there is ‘deep-seated’ racism within the domestic game.

The former Yorkshire player provided evidence in parliament at an inquiry set up because Yorkshire’s investigation into Rafiq’s allegations of racism at Headingley led to no disciplinary action.

Now England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison is under the spotlight after being warned there is ‘a long and difficult road ahead’ for cricket.

Azeem Rafiq hails Parliament on racism order

The committee, chaired by MP Julian Knight, called on the ECB to develop a set of key indicators and then provide updates to parliament on its progress every three months.

Yorkshire, now under a new chair in Lord Patel, will also be expected to report to parliament and if MPs are not happy cricket will face a cut in Government funding.

READ ALSO Ex-cricketer Rafiq tells UK lawmakers: ‘I lost career to racism’

‘We are watching closely and fully intend to ensure cricket cleans up its act,’ the report said. ‘We recommend the Government ensures any future public funds for cricket are dependent on continuous, demonstrable progress in getting rid of racism in both the dressing rooms and in the stands.’

It is a verdict welcomed by whistle blower Rafiq, who said: ‘The DCMS committee has listened and taken sensible action. It is absolutely brilliant that Julian Knight and his colleagues on the committee are going to hold the ECB to account every quarter.

 

 

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