ECB to overhaul racism complaints system in wake of Yorkshire scandal

EXCLUSIVE: ECB set to overhaul their racism complaints system in wake of Yorkshire scandal as governing body prepare anonymous phone line and text service for others to come forward after being emboldened by Azeem Rafiq

  • Azeem Rafiq’s whistleblowing is set to embolden others who’ve suffered abuse
  • ECB are to overhaul their racism complaints system to make it easier to report
  • Senior officials have privately admitted that current system is not fit for purpose
  • Victims will soon be able to phone, text or use a social media app to report abuse

The ECB are planning to overhaul their mechanisms for reporting alleged racist abuse in the sport with senior officials admitting that the current system is not fit for purpose. 

The governing body are anticipating an explosion in complaints about racism in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq affair, as the former Yorkshire off-spinner’s whistleblowing is likely to have emboldened others who have suffered abuse to tell their stories and seek redress.

Former Nottinghamshire batsman Bilal Shafayat has claimed that a former Yorkshire fast bowler called him a ‘smelly curry eater’ whilst batting during a match, with other allegations of historic racism emerging all the time. 

The world of cricket is reeling from a racism scandal at Yorkshire Cricket Club, and the ECB are set to overhaul their complaints system to make it easier for victims to come forward 

Adam Rafiq’s whistleblowing is likely to embolden others and cause explosion of complaints

The ECB’s admission of the inadequacies of the reporting system echoes a survey undertaken by the Professional Cricketers’ Association earlier this year, which found that half of the professional cricketers in England and Wales were unsure how to report racism in the sport. 

In addition a quarter of the respondents said they had experienced or witnessed racism in the game, and of those 60 per cent believe the abuse was disguised as ‘banter,’ the pretext given by Yorkshire for not taking disciplinary action against Gary Ballance despite his admission of calling Rafiq a ‘P**i.’

The ECB have conceded privately that existing mechanisms need to be updated to make the reporting of complaints easier for victims, as at present the only option available is to complete an online form on their website. 

A protest was held outside Yorkshire’s Headingley stadium in support of Rafiq last week

As a result an enhanced service offering anonymous phone lines and reporting via text message and social media apps is set to be launched in the coming weeks, while the ECB are also talking to data experts about compiling a more complete picture of racism incidents across the country.

There is also an acknowledgment at Lord’s that they could have moved quicker to demand greater transparency from Yorkshire in their handling of the investigation into Rafiq’s complaints, which dragged on for over a year. 

The ECB are now exploring whether they need to launch their own inquiry into Yorkshire’s investigation and their regulatory department have recruited additional lawyers to speed up the process.

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