Former Essex cricketer 'routinely targeted' with racist abuse in 'culture of silence'

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A former Essex cricketer said he was was routinely targeted with racist abuse and felt he couldn't complain in case it damaged his sporting career. Speaking exclusively to ITV News London, Mohammad Amin said racist language at Essex County Cricket Club was common but he didn't speak up in case he was sidelined. "Words that were very commonly used [at Essex] in the dressing room and on the field among the players were 'curry muncher', that was just a normal thing used on a daily basis", Amin told ITV News London. "We were referred to as 'munchers' that was the thing that really stuck out. "The second thing some of the players had said on and off the field was 'you're all the same', referring to people of colour and from Asian backgrounds. "For me as a youngster I always wanted to play professional cricket and what you find with people who want to make it professional is they just accept it. "If you try and challenge a senior player in the dressing room or a coach who holds your fate for your future you will know you'll be sidelined without even thinking about it. "Everyone just kept quiet and just carried on playing. As a player you don't reflect on it there and then because you are in that bubble and you want to perform and you are concentrating on your cricket rather than all the other stuff. "But looking back it definitely impacted your mental health and hinders you becoming a professional cricketer," Amin added.

Mohammad Amin speaking to ITV News London

Mohammad Amin described the "lack of support" and said some Essex players got a lot of coaching while others were neglected.

"As we were growing up some of the older guys who tried to play professional cricket will always tell you 'Essex is a racist county', which as a child growing up you heard that constantly not just one occasion there were loads of occasions," Mohammad Amin said.

"Where I learnt and improved my cricket the most was in another county where a specific coach worked with me on a one-to-one basis, I used to travel five hours for an hour and a half coaching session," he added. Amin started playing cricket on the street aged just 13 before playing at school and progressed to join a small east London club.

He impressed and played for a Premier Cricket League side by which time he knew he wanted to play professionally. Essex Cricket described the allegations as "upsetting", and would contact the players affected. "Essex Cricket will be working with Katharine Newton QC as it prepares to begin the independent investigation into the recent historic allegations of racism involving the Club," a statement read. "Katharine Newton QC is an experienced and highly regarded practitioner who appears regularly in the employment tribunal, High Court and the appellate courts, including the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. "Ms Newton has over 20 years' practice in employment law and notably led the investigation into the allegations of race discrimination and bullying against the manager of the England Women football team in 2017. "Essex Cricket reiterated that the Club has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and any form of discrimination. "The appointment of such an eminent legal figure underscores the Club's determination that all allegations, regardless of when they took place, will be investigated thoroughly and independently. "Essex Cricket is saddened to learn of upsetting allegations, reported by ITV London today. The Club will be in contact with both players to encourage them to discuss their experiences while at Essex County Cricket Club. The Club will take the allegations very seriously and hope both players feel able to be part of the pending investigation.

"A reporting channel has been set up for anyone who wishes to talk about their experiences with Essex Cricket. Anyone concerned can contact the Club, anonymously if they wish, by emailing equality@essexcricket.org.uk," the statement added.