English cricket apologizes to Azim Rafeeq and promises action on racism | great buddy

English cricket has issued an unreserved apology to Azeem Rafiq, saying that the racism he has been subjected to is a blight in the game, before promising quick action to restore confidence.

The apology, which came after crisis talks in the Oval between the European Central Bank, the first-tier provinces and other key stakeholders in the sport, applauded the former. Yorkshire player “for highlighting our game that shocked, pricked and saddened us all” and committed to publishing a 12-point action plan on Wednesday.

“Racism and discrimination are a blight in our game,” the joint statement read. To Azeem and all those who have experienced any form of discrimination, we are truly sorry. Our sport did not welcome you, our game did not accept you as we should have. We apologize unreservedly for your suffering.”

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank CEO Tom Harrison, who thought his job was under threat after a faltering performance in front of MPs on Tuesday, walked out of the meeting saying he retained support for the game – and is now determined to enact change.

“I got the game support today, for sure,” he said. “And I am determined to lead that change through cricket. I feel a passion for this issue. It is something that I feel at the core. I have been trying to lead an inclusive and diverse sport since the moment I arrived as CEO in 2015. I feel very motivated and supported to make sure that That change happens in the game.

European Central Bank CEO, Tom Harrison
European Central Bank chief executive Tom Harrison said he is determined to make a difference. Photo: Justin Thales/AFP/Getty Images

What are the reasons we experience cultural difficulties in the dressing room? What are the reasons why this hateful, racist behavior in our game has attacked the high performance space? These are the areas we will be taking a closer look at, which we will be publishing on Wednesday.”

Harrison’s comments were largely long about vulgarity and short on detail. However, he admitted: “What we have to do is make sure that we listen to the victims of racism. The ECB has these processes in place, and I think in the future, the ECB will likely step in immediately to take steps to fully understand and investigate.”

“We focused on work today,” he added. “Speaking to cricket fans who will be looking seriously at the broader game for concrete action, this is what we will deliver. Whether it is a cultural change in the locker room, the criteria for staffing through the game, or a set of different points in 12 regions. We will be looking at actions concrete to make sure we impact the ground.”

The talks came at the end of another hot week for the sport, which began with Rafeeq’s shocking revelations about institutional racism in cricket before the Digital, Cultural, Media and Sports Select Committee. Another cricketer, Alex Hills, has since apologized after a picture of him with a black face surfaced in 2009 while Rafeeq has also apologized for antisemitic comments he made when he was 19.

On Thursday, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston warned cricket that the government would be willing to take the “nuclear option” to impose a regulator and consider how to fund the sport if it did not enact significant change within weeks or months.

Cricket officials seem to be heeding this warning as they promised more talks and a plan of action next week.

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“We stand together against discrimination in all its forms and unite as a business sport,” they added in a statement. “We will continue to listen and make rapid and positive changes to the culture of the game. We will embrace and celebrate differences everywhere, realizing that with diversity, we are stronger.

“As a game, we have discussed a series of concrete commitments to make cricket a sport where everyone feels safe, and everyone feels included. We will now finalize the details and publish these measures next week. Our game should restore your trust.”

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