Today, the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) published its report following an in-depth investigation, run over the last two years, into how equitable the game of cricket is.
Middlesex Cricket welcomes this report and the Club issues the following statement to underline its commitment to making positive change to ensure that cricket is a game for all.
The report, commissioned by the game’s governing body, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), in March 2021, is, as the name states, completely Independent of the ECB, and Cindy Butts, a lawyer by profession with vast experience in tackling issues of equity, was appointed as the Commission’s Chair, to work with four other independent Commissioners over the period of the investigation.
The first stage of the ICEC’s investigation took the form of an online survey, across November and December 2021, which received over 4,000 responses.
This coincided with a separate report being published - conducted by the Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, which reported their findings of an investigation into Yorkshire County Cricket Club, following allegations of racism made by former Yorkshire player, Azeem Rafiq.
The DCMS report was damning and chastening for not only Yorkshire, but for the game of cricket at large, and the ECB and each of the first-class counties were quick to confirm their commitment to tackling the problems raised, making a firm commitment to eradicate racism in cricket and ensure the game was inclusive for all.
Across March and April 2022, the ICEC launched phase two of its investigation, an open call for written evidence, whilst also appealing for oral evidence directly from key stakeholders in the game, conducting wide-ranging research into developments and trends in the game, and gathering information from many cricketing organisations.
The report, commissioned by the ECB for the long-term good of the game, will of course raise many challenges for the game to focus on moving forward, however we welcome it, as without the evidence that the report establishes, the wider game would be unable to progress and make positive and sustainable change.
The last 24 months has been a challenging time for the game at large, and each first-class county has been working extremely hard on delivering their own Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (ED&I) plans, to ensure that their respective counties are doing all that they can to make significant improvements in this area. The ECB itself launched its own game-wide ED&I plan, with a firm commitment to address the issues that exist within the game. The findings of the ICEC report will help shape the ECB’s and each of the first-class counties’ ED&I plans as we move forwards together and the game is committed to making change.
At Middlesex Cricket, we made a firm commitment to improving Equity Diversity and Inclusion long before the ICEC report was even publicly launched, setting up a dedicated ED&I committee at the end of 2020 and launching our own ED&I plan early in 2021, with a mission to tackle the issues we face within our own county.
That plan has four main principles to it:
Since launching the plan, we at Middlesex Cricket have been wholly committed to delivering it, and whilst there is still an enormous amount of work to be done in this area, we have made great strides in our quest to be as inclusive as we can possibly be. This work continues and categorically will not stop.
We are working more closely with our communities than ever before, we are taking cricket into areas where we haven’t before, and we have formed partnerships with leading stakeholders in this area to ensure we continue to learn and continue to improve. A snapshot of some of the work Middlesex has undertaken in the area can be seen HERE.
The creation of a brand new charitable foundation, ‘Middlesex In the Community’, will enable us to focus on this key area, promoting community participation and engagement in cricket by providing and assisting in the provision of facilities (land, buildings & equipment) and activities that promote the advancement of health, education, community development and recreational sport for people residing, working, in education or visiting the 17 London Boroughs that form the cricket county of Middlesex and surrounding areas.
At this stage, having only received the report today, the Club will extensively review its findings over the coming days and weeks, working with the ECB, and we can then begin to address the many challenges it presents to us. We see this as an opportunity to continue to learn, to help us shape our ED&I plan moving forwards, so that we can address the issues raised for the long term good and sustainability of cricket in Middlesex.
Whilst the Club digests the content of the report and determines its next actions, we will not be making any further public statements on the content of the report, however you have our assurance that we will be doing all in our power to make Middlesex Cricket as inclusive and equitable as it can be for all.
Chief Executive Officer, Middlesex Cricket
- You can read the ECB's response to the report in full here
- You can read the ICEC report in full here
- You can read the recommendations within the ICEC report here