English cricket boss says ‘earthquake’ has hit the game after racism revelations

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Tom Harrison - Racism in cricket

England and Wales Cricket board chief executive Tom Harrison has not ruled out an independent regulator for cricket after admitting an “earthquake” had hit the sport in the last few weeks.

The ECB published a 12-point, game-wide action plan on Friday to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination in the game, following Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to MPs earlier this month about the abuse he suffered at Yorkshire.

“The last few weeks have been very, very tough for cricket. It feels like an earthquake has hit us,” Harrison said.

“The most damning part of Azeem’s testimony is that he didn’t want his son to be part of the game. That is, for someone in my job, the most difficult thing you can hear.”

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One of the points in the action plan is a governance review of the ECB. In a week where a fan-led review recommended an independent regulator for football, Harrison said it was appropriate that the review should at least consider whether that was the best way forward for cricket too.

“We had a meeting yesterday with the county chairs… whether we should be the regulator and the national governing body going forward,” he said.

“That conversation is one we’re going to have with the game as well.

“I think it’s the right time for us now to go back as a collective again and work out whether we have got the right governance structures, given the pressures and the uniquely different role that ECB plays now as a major sport, with the multiple hats that we have to wear, overseeing the game as we do.

“If a governance review comes back with a recommendation (that an independent regulator is appropriate) then you’ve got to have a very good reason not to go along with that recommendation.”

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