In the next stage of continuing work to increase inclusion and diversity through its Inspiring Generations strategic plan, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have announced a series of further measures to help make cricket a game for everyone.
These new steps were approved by the ECB Board on Tuesday (24 November) and will form part of a new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan which will be rolled out over the coming months, to make the game more representative and drive out discrimination of any kind.
The three measures announced are:
• A new independent Commission for Equality in Cricket: to assist the ECB Board in assessing the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket, and the actions needed to tackle these issues. This will be led by an independent Chair and will have independent members. The members will be selected to bring a diversity of thought and experience to provide constructive input and challenge to the ECB and the wider game.
• A Forum for Race in Cricket: to provide a confidential, safe space through which the ECB can listen to, and learn from, the lived experiences of people from across the game. Building on work done this year and through our South Asian Action Plan, the Board has agreed that it is critical that we continue to listen and learn from these lived experiences so that we can assess the future action required.
• A new Equality Code of Conduct: to be adopted and enforced by all cricket organisations operating under the ECB’s jurisdiction, enabling discriminatory behaviour to be sanctioned through disciplinary processes. The Code is now being finalised in consultation with the wider game for implementation before the 2021 season.
These measures build on steps the ECB has taken in recent years to become a more inclusive game, including delivering a South Asian Action Plan, Women and Girls’ Action Plan, and County Governance Framework, as well as a range of steps through our Diversity Action Plan 2018-20.
They also follow action undertaken this summer to broaden the strategy further, including introducing bursaries for underrepresented groups in coaching, committing to increased diversity in leadership across the game, and providing funding to help expand the ACE programme which was established by Surrey CCC to increase opportunities for young black cricketers.
The full Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan for 2021-24 will be launched next year and will guide the ECB and the wider game in making changes around leadership, governance and education and increase visibility and opportunity. It will help the ECB achieve the goal of making cricket a game for everyone whatever their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, social background or whether they have a disability or not.
The Board has agreed that this work will be driven by the ECB’s Senior Independent Director, Brenda Trenowden, a specialist in the field of inclusion and diversity. The ECB Board will have regular oversight over this essential agenda, which will form a standing item at every ECB Board meeting.
John Faragher, Club Chairman and Interim Chief Executive of Essex Cricket, said: “Essex Cricket are fully supportive of the ECB and the game’s commitment to creating more representative opportunities at all levels through the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan, as part of the game-wide Inspiring Generations strategy.
“We strive to continue developing our diversity as an organisation from the professional game through to the fantastic work carried out in communities across Essex and the surrounding regions.
“This continues to be at the forefront of our future action plan as we look at new and exciting ways to evolve the game, and engage with communities that are so closely linked to Essex.”
Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB, said: “The primary aim of the ECB’s Inspiring Generations strategy is to make cricket a game for everyone and many actions are well underway and helping to make cricket more diverse and inclusive. While continuing with this work and increasing its impact, we are equally clear that all discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable, and are committed to drive it out of the game through better governance, education, training, role modelling and behavioural change, but also through disciplinary action when necessary. Continuing to listen to the experiences of people, whether positive or negative, and engaging with independent expertise will help to inform, strengthen and challenge our thinking and plans as we move forward. Taken together, these steps will ensure that the ECB achieves lasting change.”
Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, added: “This year we have listened to many people from across the game and beyond, to understand where we must be better in making our sport inclusive and diverse, and tackling discrimination. The measures we have announced today, and the broader Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Plan we will launch, build on and accelerate the work we have already done in recent years. We will continue to learn how, as a game, we become more representative of the communities we strive to serve.”