Survey shows racism rife in English cricket, players to attend anti-racism course


Sports, Cricket

The courses will cover dressing room culture and raise awareness of how behaviour can be interpreted by different cultures

West Indies' players 'take a knee' in support of the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of play on the first day of the first Test cricket match against England. (Image used for representational purpose/AFP)

London: England cricketers -- both men and women -- will undergo anti-racism training courses this year after a survey revealed that more than one-third of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players have faced the prejudice in the game.

According to a report in 'The Telegraph' the courses will cover dressing room culture, raise awareness of how behaviour can be interpreted by different cultures and encourage people to challenge anything they deem to be unacceptable after 'banter' was identified as a mask for racism.

In the survey, done by the Professional Cricketers' Association, 45 per cent of more than 600 respondents claimed that racism had come from a fellow player, 10 per cent said it was from a coach, and around 30 per cent had experienced it on social media or from fans.

About 62 per cent of the surveyed players agreed with the suggestion, while 70 per cent believed specific education on racism and diversity would help improve the situation.

"Only 173 of professional players replied to the survey which the PCA believes shows the level of work they still have to undertake to ensure cricketers realise the importance of anti-racism education," the report added.

Of the respondents, 24 were identified as black, Asian or from ethnic minority backgrounds (which is around 90 per cent of the number of BAME players in the game).

In total, 12 from BAME backgrounds had experienced some form of racism. Of those who identified as white, 11 had direct experience.

"It would have been far better if the vast majority of players had responded. Why they didn't is very difficult to speculate," said Charlie Mulraine, the PCA's lead personal development manager.

"Sometimes there is nervousness talking about these issues and some are uncomfortable to express how they feel."

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) will introduce an anonymous phone line to report racism, issue guidance on how people can be held to account for breaches and a forum for sharing experiences of racism, the report added.

"We needed to start somewhere. This gives us a clear direction of travel and it is an ambition to increase engagement with our members on this issue," said Rob Lynch, the PCA's chief executive.

"The option to do nothing was not there so the fact it has led us in this direction is a positive for the game."

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement following death of black-Amercian George Floyd found support from sports persons across games and continents.