London [UK], November 27 (ANI): England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has committed to a wide-ranging action plan to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity at all levels of the game.
The plan has been developed jointly by the ECB, MCC, the PCA, NCCA Ltd, the First Class Counties, Women's Regional Hosts and the Recreational County Cricket network, as a game-wide response to discrimination within the game.
While taking tangible and immediate action through the plan published, cricket will continue to listen and learn from anyone who has experienced discrimination in the sport. Further work is being undertaken to examine these issues through the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket and ongoing investigations into racism allegations and the handling of complaints made by Azeem Rafiq and others. Cricket's leaders will also consult with independent third-party organisations with significant expertise in resolving similar issues. The game expects to take further action based on the findings and recommendations that come out of these processes.
Barry O'Brien, ECB Interim Chair, in an official release commented: ''This is a critical moment for cricket. At the all-game meeting last week, we agreed with one voice on the need to act decisively. "
The measures agreed include a series of immediate changes as well as the instigation of a review period that will incorporate the work of the ICEC and other inquiries into discrimination in cricket. The initial aims include:
1. Adoption within three months of a standardised approach to reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints, allegations, and whistleblowing across the game.
2. Full promotion of the aims of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) through proactive engagement with its investigations and recommendations.
3. Ongoing EDI training for all those who work in cricket, including all staff, volunteers, recreational club officials, umpires, directors, and coaches.
4. A full review of dressing room culture in all men's and women's professional teams, both domestic and international.
5. Delivery of a redesigned programme of player and coach education, addressing any gaps identified through the dressing room review.
6. Action to aid progress into professional teams of people from diverse backgrounds (especially South Asian, Black and less privileged youngsters) through measures to address i) talent identification and scouting, ii) education and diversity of coaches and iii) targeted support programmes for players from diverse or underprivileged backgrounds.
7. A full-scale review, in advance of the 2022 season, into the detection, enforcement, and sanctions against discriminatory and abusive crowd behaviour at each of our professional cricket grounds.
8. Delivery of plans (tailored to local communities) to ensure professional cricket venues are welcoming to all, including provision of accessible seating, food and beverage offering catering to all faiths and cultures, and the availability of facilities such as multi-faith rooms and alcohol-free zones.
9. Upgraded education in recreational cricket to ensure players, volunteers and coaches understand and champion inclusion and diversity in the game.
The ECB will also publish its 2021-2023 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan with clear actions and targets. The ECB will then work with any of its members who do not yet have an EDI plan in place to create (or revise) their own localised version within six months, with actions to include:
10. A commitment to best practice governance with targets for Board diversity (30% female, locally representative ethnicity by April 2022) and plans to increase diversity across the wider organisation. (Compliance will be subject to a "comply or explain" provision to ensure Counties can respect their own governance processes in making the required change).
11. The introduction of fairer recruitment processes through measures including the immediate adoption of anonymised recruitment tools for senior roles, open appointment processes for all roles and the use of balanced and diverse panels to assess interviews.
12. Every senior executive employed across the game will have personal EDI objectives as part of their annual performance targets, driving leadership accountability.
To be transparent and build trust, the game will provide regular updates on progress against the delivery of the action plan and EDI goals. To underpin the actions being taken across the cricket network, the ECB has committed to providing additional resources and taking several further steps in support of consistent progress across the game. (ANI)