The England and Wales Cricket Board on Tuesday said it is committed to establish a new anti-discrimination unit to ensure that it has the right resources and capabilities to tackle discrimination in all its forms.
The ECB said work to define the resources and capabilities required by the unit has been completed and the proposed approach has been approved by its Board.
It added that the delivery plan is in development phase and full implementation will take longer than initially envisaged.
“In the first phase, the ECB has established a new role of Head of Discipline with responsibility for managing discrimination allegations from within the recreational game, assisting counties with issues which arise and overseeing the investigations process,” the ECB said in a statement.
“This role, which will be supported by two managers, will be in place from June 2022.
“The addition of these new resources follows on from the creation, as reported in the previous update, of a game-wide system allowing anyone to report an incident of discrimination that they have experienced in recreational cricket.
“Separate systems are in place for reporting and managing any incidents within the professional game and any related to ECB employees.”
The ECB has published its third update on the implementation of cricket’s action plan to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity at all levels of the game.
It all started with Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism against him during his stint at Yorkshire.
The ECB got down to put its house in order in November last year after Yorkshire player Gary Ballance admitted to using a racial slur against his ex-teammate Rafiq.
The ECB has subsequently banned Yorkshire county from hosting international matches for failing to act on former player Rafiq’s racial abuse charges, which were proved to be true in an independent inquiry, calling the club’s approach “abhorrent”.
“Since the previous update on 1 April 2022, the ECB has continued to work with stakeholders across the game to deliver further progress against the measures announced as part of the action plan.
“In line with the anticipated timetable for full delivery of the plan, the next update will be provided before the end of September,” the board said.
The ECB said that following publication of the action plan in November last year, the county cricket network has achieved significant progress to “increase Board diversity in line with the targets of 30 per cent female representation and locally representative ethnicity by the end of April 2022”.
“In the last six months, more than 30 organisations have appointed at least one new Non-Executive Director (NED) to their Board, with many of these involving major recruitment processes appointing multiple NEDs,” it said.
The ECB has placed one organisation, Essex County Cricket Club, in a non-compliance process as they have fallen significantly short of their targets and do not yet have a clear action plan to deliver change within an appropriate timescale.
“As part of this process, Essex CCC must provide an updated action plan for approval by the ECB and sanctions may be considered if sufficient progress is not made within agreed deadline,” it said.
The ECB has also worked with the First Class Counties and the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) to complete a pre-season review of the effectiveness of its venues at managing crowd behaviour, with the aim of ensuring that robust systems are in place for detection, enforcement, and sanctioning of any discriminatory or abusive behaviour.
In addition, a pilot scheme will be introduced this season at The Kia Oval and Edgbaston to trial the use of advanced CCTV to improve incident identification, tracking and reporting.
“A wider rollout of the technology will be considered based on the success of the pilot. To promote best practice, all crowd management incidents will be subject to formal reporting to the ECB’s Safety & Security team from the 2022 season, with a sanctions policy for poor crowd management to be agreed for the 2023 season.
“Further evaluation of crowd behaviour will be undertaken during 2022 with the support of external partners, including MOM Consultancy, SGSA and Leeds Beckett University, with the aim of identifying further improvements to our approach in this area,” the ECB said.