Cricket board launches social media review over 'historical issues' after offensive tweets from players resurface

Credit: PA

The England and Wales Cricket Board has opened the door to possible disciplinary sanctions after announcing a social media review following the Ollie Robinson Twitter storm.

The cricketing authority said it would undertake the review "to address any historical issues" relating to players' comments online.

Robinson's Test debut at Lord's was marred last week by the emergence of racist and sexist tweets posted several years earlier - he was duly suspended pending an investigation.

The 27-year-old issued an apology and later said he was taking a break from the sport.

A second unnamed player was then found to have sent offensive tweets while under the age of 16, and the post are now being investigated.

A number of other more senior players - including James Anderson, Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan - have also been criticised for potentially offensive messages.

ITV News Correspondent Sangita Lal has the details of the Ollie Robinson row and the reaction to it

The ECB board met on Wednesday and agreed to go ahead with a review.

A statement issued on Saturday read: "The board agreed to the executive’s recommendation for a social media review to address any historical issues, remind individuals of their personal responsibilities going forward, and help them learn lessons along the way.

"The board was clear that this process would not prevent further disciplinary action in the future, should that be required, under the applicable processes, but it is hoped that the game can emerge from this difficult period stronger and determined to be more inclusive and welcoming to all."

Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB, said: "As the National Governing Body, we must steer a path between helping individuals project an inclusive image, educating them on what is expected of them and allowing them the space to express themselves to the public.

"We must also investigate their actions and sanction them when they fall short.

"The Board was unanimous in support of the Executive in the actions taken by them in the last week and agrees with their plans to move the game forward in a spirit of inclusion, education and personal responsibility, whilst addressing those cases which cause most offence head on."

Reaction to Robinson's suspension was divided last week, with the culture secretary describing it as "over the top".

Downing Street later said Boris Johnson backed Oliver Dowden's assessment.

But former players were supportive of the move.

'This was spot on by the ECB,' says Monty Panesar

Ex-England cricketer Monty Panesar told ITV News the ECB made "the right decision here".

The ECB said Robinson, who impressed with ball and bat during his debut test against New Zealand, had been suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of am investigation into the historic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013.

"Their message for cricket is you know, 'cricket is for everyone' and they want to bring in wider audiences to the game this summer.

"It's absolutely vital that they do not lose the trust of the public.

"This was spot on by the ECB, you know, they had to take a harsh decision on Ollie Robinson," he said.

'If you want to represent the country, then your standards need to be higher than that'

Former cricketer Mark Ramprakash MBE said it was important a "strong message" was sent on the issue.

"Cricket is a sport that brings people together, and we want to foster that," he told ITV News.

"That's why I think it's really important than a strong message is sent that this is not acceptable, and if you want to represent the country, then your standards need to be higher than that."

Rob Lynch, boss of the Professional Cricketers' Association, said the past week had been "an important period" for athletes in the sport.

"We are committed to working with our members and the ECB on further education, and there is always more that we can do. We will consult with our members and work with the ECB to develop terms of reference for a social media review, which in turn, will lead to better insight and an opportunity to improve.

"Our commitment, as always in times like this is to ensure the ECB process is fair and considered and to offer support, advice, and education to all of our members."