SPORTS minister Nigel Huddleston warned cricket chiefs face a “nuclear option” if they do not solve the racism crisis.
Huddleston accused the ECB of “kicking the problem into the long grass for years” and said an independent regulator could be appointed to check the flow of public money into cricket.
Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism have blown cricket apart[/caption]
Sports minister Nigel Huddleston has fired a stark warning to the world of cricket[/caption]
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison could come under pressure following his unimpressive performance at the DCMS on Tuesday.
As the fallout from Rafiq’s testimony continues . . .
- Somerset and former Yorkshire seamer Jack Brooks apologised for historical tweets in which he used the word “negro”.
- Alex Hales is to be probed by Notts after claims that he called his black dog Kevin because it was a catch-all name for non-white players.
- Former England women’s player and TV pundit Ebony Rainford-Brent showed on Twitter a hate-filled and disgustingly racist letter that was sent to her.
- And Rafiq himself apologised for an anti-Semetic exchange on Facebook with another cricketer in 2011.
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Rafiq has agreed to meet with the PCA after accusing the players’ union of failing to help him.
Huddleston has set a deadline of “weeks or months” for cricket to put its house in order.
He revealed he has met with Harrison and been assured that the ECB will do “whatever it takes” to put things right.
Harrison told the select committee on Tuesday that English cricket is nearing an “emergency” over a failure to address racism.
Now Huddleston has said the Government is prepared to step in if the situation does not improve.
If they don’t get their act together then we have the nuclear option of potentially bringing in an independent regulator
He explained: “To the extent that racist language at Yorkshire was normalised and some people didn’t seem to recognise that what they were doing and saying was racist . . . I think that’s probably the definition of institutional racism.
“Cricket in the UK is not nationalised, we don’t have direct control.
“But if they don’t get their act together then we have the nuclear option of potentially bringing in an independent regulator.
“That is probably the route that we, if we absolutely had to, could go down. With cricket, I’d say the clock is ticking.
“I’ve had extensive conversations with the Secretary of State, Nadine Dorries, and she’s been very clear to me that, if we don’t see sufficient action taken, we as a Government will intervene.”
Huddleston said that most of the money going into cricket through Sport England is invested in initiatives about equality and diversity, of which he approves.
But he added: “We also need to be very conscious about how we are using taxpayers’ money in cricket and make sure it’s doing the right things.
“Tom Harrison has given his absolute sincere commitment that he understands the issues and wants to fix them.”
ESSEX have appointed Katharine Newton QC to lead an investigation at the county after three historical claims of racism emerged in the past week.
Alex Hales is to be probed by Notts after claims that he called his black dog Kevin because it was a catch-all name for non-white players[/caption]
Yorkshire cricketer Jack Brooks has apologised for using the word ‘negro’ on a tweet[/caption]