British cricket should face state funding cuts on racism, MPs say

MPs urge UK government to limit public funding for cricket if the sport fails to show anti-racism initiatives are working Former player Achim Rafiq.

The Commons Select Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which has been leading the inquiry into racism in cricket, said ministers should take action if the sport “does not make visible progress in eliminating racist behaviour among clubs and spectators” action.

In a report released on Friday, the committee said the England and Wales Cricket Board, the game’s domestic governing body, should develop a list of “indicators” to measure its performance in tackling racism and report it to the committee. Provide quarterly progress reports.

The committee said it had concluded that “not only is there racism in cricket, but Yorkshire Cricket Club is also [where Rafiq spent most of his career] The England and Wales Cricket Board will be aware of this.”

The ECB, which also funds the campaign, has also come under increasing pressure to take action after Rafiq told the committee in November that racism was a “problem across the country”. Details of the abuse he suffered in Yorkshire.

“A long time ago, me and other people from Asian backgrounds . . . had comments like ‘you’ll be sitting near the toilet’, ‘elephant washing machine’. The word ‘P*ki’ is used a lot,” he said. Say.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has threatened to strip the ECB of its supervisory powers and create an independent regulator if it fails to act.

Rafiq said the DCMS committee was taking “sensible action” and welcomed the plan that the ECB is responsible for on a quarterly basis.

“It shows how serious politicians are about issues in cricket that too many have long ignored,” Rafiq said. “The committee understands the importance of cleaning up the game.”

The ECB itself generates substantial revenue, which helps fund the campaign. However, in the year to 31 January 2021, annual revenue fell by 9% to £207m. Administrative expenses rose 16% to £191m as the European Central Bank increased funding for the sport to help it through the pandemic. This resulted in a net loss of around £14.9 million.

Its annual report shows that the ECB received £2.1m in public funding from the UK Sports Council Lottery Fund and Skills Funding Agency, down from almost £2.7m the previous year.

“Public funding for cricket must depend on genuine leadership and progress from the ECB to tackle abhorrent behaviour, not only in the dressing room but also in the stands,” said DCMS committee chair Julian Knight.

“We have informed the ECB that we would like to provide the committee with regular updates on the progress being made,” he added.

Barry O’Brien, interim president of the ECB, welcomed the proposals and said the organisation was “determined to root out racism” despite some actions it had already taken over the past three years.

“We agree that regular public updates on our progress are important to rebuild trust in our sport,” he said.

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