English cricket racism scandal could cause grassroots clubs to lose £ 2.5 million, with charities fearing consequences

The racism scandal that has engulfed cricket could leave a £ 2.5 million gap in grassroots funding if the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) fails to “clean up its act”.

The warning came from the report of the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which was published after shocking testimony November last year from former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

After Rafiq reported on abuse in two rounds in Yorkshire, starting in 2008 and ending in 2018, DCMS selected committees found “deep-seated” racism in the game. It recommended in its report that “the government ensures that future public funds for cricket are dependent on continuous, demonstrable progress in getting rid of racism in both the changing rooms and in the stands”.

The DCMS Committee’s report called on the ECB to provide quarterly progress reports on their efforts to rid the game of racism. The ECB and Yorkshire will be called to testify about their progress early this year, the committee said.

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The ECB receives around £ 2.5 million state aid per year, which is limited to community projects and grassroots games. The elite end of the game is largely funded by revenue from matches and the sale of broadcasting rights.

And the news that the ECB is facing a revenue cut specifically earmarked for the community game has been met with concern by charities aiming to get underrepresented demographics to play cricket.

A spokesman for Chance to Shine, whose work is partly funded by the ECB, has allowed nearly six million children to play cricket, he said. I: “The funds Chance to Shine receives from the ECB will not be diverted from the government, but we recognize that a drop in income for any of our major partners poses a potential risk to our work.

“We truly believe that our work is more important now than ever before and we are determined to continue to bring communities together and inspire children from all backgrounds through cricket.”

Rafiq’s testimony, in which he said his accusations of racism in Yorkshire were ignored or not followed, prompted others to comment on their experiences. This led the committee to conclude that racism “was not just a personal issue [for Rafiq] but an endemic problem across the whole of cricket ”.

The DCMS report added: “We are following closely and intend to ensure that cricket cleans up. We have been shocked by the language people used in the correspondence with us after the hearing.

“That along with stories running in the media to discredit him [Rafiq], demonstrate that eradicating racism from the game will be a long and difficult road. However, this is a watershed for cricket in this country. Those who love and support the game are part of the solution and must play their part. “

The ECB insisted it welcomed the extra inquiry, and interim President Barry O’Brien said: “We are determined to eradicate racism – and other forms of discrimination – from our sport.

“We look forward to updating the committee on the progress that the whole game is making in delivering the 12-point action plan adopted in November to create the meaningful change we all want to see. We agree that it It’s important to share regular public updates on our progress to rebuild confidence in our sport. “

Lord’s Taverners, a charity that provides access to cricket to under-represented members of the public, also receives support from the ECB. It said in a statement to I that it wants to help the governing body ensure that cricket is a sport for everyone.

The statement read: “We want to play a role in demonstrating that cricket can be a means of change and that a vibrant, culturally rich, diverse, secure, accommodating and empowering range of programs can also address issues of racism, prejudice and inequality. to achieve a range of other critical outcomes for communities. “

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