Government back recommendation cricket funding should depend on racism progress

A committee recommendation that public funding for cricket should depend on progress to tackle racism has been 'overwhelmingly' backed by the Government.

Last year, former Yorkshire County Cricket Club player, Azeem Rafiq, prompted a major inquiry into abuse and discrimination in the game after making claims of institutional racism at the club.

An investigation found he had been subjected to racial harassment and bullying while at the club, and in November, he gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The DCMS report said public funding for the game be dependent on the England Cricket Board making demonstrable progress in getting rid of racism from dressing grounds and stands.

The government also supported the recommendation that the ECB provides quarterly updates on its progress on making the sport more inclusive.

A spokesperson said: "We expect to see evidence of improvements across the sport and delivery on the ECB's ambition to eradicate racism from cricket. However if these changes are not made and implemented, the Government reserves the right to intervene further."

Former Yorkshire player, Azeem Rafiq, said he was a victim of racism at the club.

Yorkshire will hold an extraordinary general meeting on March 31 where members will be asked to vote on proposed reforms to the club and confirm Lord Kamlesh Patel as Chair.

Pressure started to mount on Yorkshire following two aborted previous attempts to hold the EGM after former chairman and current vice-president Robin Smith declared the new chairmanship of Lord Patel invalid.

The ECB said last month that it would lift the suspension on the club hosting international fixtures subject to reforms being implemented.

The club was suspended from hosting international and major fixtures at Headingley last year following the county's handling of racism allegations from Rafiq.

Yorkshire was suspended from hosting international and major fixtures at Headingley last year.

The Committee Chair, Julian Knight MP, said action is urgently needed to root out "endemic racism."

He said: "The ECB, PCA and long-standing sponsors, who have severed their links with Yorkshire over the club’s approach to tackling the problem, are all now on the same page and the Committee and the Government are speaking as one.

Next week, by voting for the reforms put forward by Lord Patel, Yorkshire members can continue the process of the club’s rehabilitation. This should be just the first step in cricket putting its house in order."