June 23, 2021

Cricket diversity ‘too important for bunch of white men to decide’

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Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn among MPs to have backed Early Day Motion; Motion was drafted by Peter Herbert OBE; Herbert: “There is a greater awareness that (anti) racism cannot just be a tick-box exercise.”

Last Updated: 10/03/21 4:58pm

Human rights lawyer Peter Herbert OBE says it is “high time” the government addressed the issue of a lack of diversity in cricket.

Herbert, who is Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, says the problem is “too important to be left to a bunch of, generally speaking, white men, to decide what to do”.

Herbert has drafted a motion which has been tabled in the House of Commons, calling on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to hold the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) to account over claims of institutional racism.

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Human rights lawyer Peter Herbert OBE explains why he drafted an Early Day Motion calling on the government to make the England and Wales Cricket Board address the lack of diversity in the sport

Human rights lawyer Peter Herbert OBE explains why he drafted an Early Day Motion calling on the government to make the England and Wales Cricket Board address the lack of diversity in the sport

The motion – backed by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – expressed “serious concerns” with the lack of diversity at all levels of English and Welsh cricket, and Herbert says the DCMS must take the motion seriously.

He told Sky Sports: “There was an early day motion back in 1998 highlighting the degree of racism in cricket.

“There was a report in 1999 which quite rightly made some very good recommendations, and well over 20 years later, virtually nothing has happened.

“It is a sport played by many across the country and across the world – and it is too important to be left to a bunch of, generally speaking, white men, to decide what to do.

“There is a greater awareness that (anti) racism cannot just be a tick-box exercise and it must be discussed and it must be actioned.

“It really is high time the Minister took his responsibility seriously.

“I think it is a parliamentary matter, it is certainly within the view of the Minister for Sport (Nigel Huddlestone), and the ECB have a vested interest in getting their house in order.”

An ECB spokesperson said: “We have set up the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, the terms of which will be established by the Chair, Cindy Butts, to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket.

“It will play an important role in helping us to listen and understand the reality of the inclusion challenges in the game, so that we can focus our efforts on ensuring that more people can say that cricket is a game for me.”