Sports

English cricket may face racism probe

The England and Wales Cricket Board could face investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into allegations of institutional racism.

Lawyers acting on behalf of former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood have called on the EHRC to investigate the governing body.

Holder and Dawood are involved in an ongoing employment tribunal, seeking damages from the ECB and a ruling under the 2010 Equality Act over claims of systemic discrimination at the organisation.

An early day motion was also lodged in the House of Commons earlier this week, stating “serious concern at the under-representation of African, Caribbean and Asian coaches, umpires and match officials at all levels of cricket in England and Wales” and calling for appropriate action.

Now the EHRC will be asked to consider the matter.

A statement issued on behalf of several campaigners, including Holder and Dawood’s solicitor Mohammed Patel and former human rights lawyer and judge Peter Herbert, read: “An international consortium of Pan African, Caribbean and Asian organisations have today called upon the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate racism into cricket in England and Wales.

“The claimants are seeking permission to bring a complaint against the England and Wales Cricket Board on the grounds of institutional racism. The claimants submit that their complaint is in the public interest and that it would be just and equitable for the court to adjudicate on their complaint.”

The ECB this month named Cindy Butts as the chair of its Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, introduced a new anti-discrimination code and supported the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s education, diversity and inclusion program.

Holder was removed from the ECB’s Test panel in 1991 and was unable to secure a mentoring role despite 26 years experience in the first-class game, while 44-year-old Dawood contests that he was routinely denied promotion from the reserve list while less-qualified candidates were fast-tracked.

The last non-white umpire to reach the first-class list was Vanburn Holder in 1992, but the ECB has committed to a more diverse national panel by the end of the year, as well as promising representation on all future selection panels.

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