Sporting Equals Chief Executive Response to Comments Made by the Chair of Middlesex County Cricket Club

 
Yet again, senior decision makers at County Crickets Clubs are evidencing the endemic problem of institutional racism within the sport.
 
Comments made by Mike O'Farrell the Chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club, addressing the DCMS Select Committee as part of the inquiry into racism in cricket, echoed age-old racial stereotypes of both African and Caribbean and South Asian communities. 
 
Lazy and flippant statements such as: Black people prefer Football and Rugby, and South Asians would rather focus on academia over playing professional sport perpetuates a damaging perception and false narrative of the sport for those from ethnically diverse communities. This ultimately sends out a message from those at the top, that Cricket is “not for them.”
 
During the evidence session, when the Select Committee questioned those attending about any efforts made towards diversity, women's sport was provided as an example. This again highlights the failure of the wider UK sport and physical activity sector to approach underrepresentation in an intersectional sense. Discrimination is widespread and racism cuts across all equality strands, when will the sector confront institutionally racist behaviours and make decisive movements towards delivering equal and respectful engagement towards all communities?
 
We know that these deep-seated problems exist further than Yorkshire County Cricket Club, where changes have actively been made to address those responsible for the dismissive reaction to the experiences of Azeem Rafiq. However, we now want to see this happening across the board. Accountability needs to be held at all levels of County Cricket, and indeed at the ECB. 
 
Cricket needs to engage with these communities to work proactively to now tackle its increasingly alarmingly poor reputation on institutional racism and how it has historically dealt with instances of racism. Too often, ethnically diverse communities are not consulted with when considering resolves to engagement and what has been happening for many years in cricket and its shortcomings are evidence of that. 
 
This, of course, is not limited to cricket. Organisations across the sector need to be better at collaborating with expert partners to ensure they are reaching the right audiences instead of making presumptions on behalf of those from ethnically diverse communities.