The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) has issued a 317-page report called Holding Up A Mirror To Cricket, bringing out the ‘racist, sexist and elitist’ practices in England cricket. The ICEC has further made 44 recommendations, to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) including a demand for a brazen apology.
The ICEC was started by the ECB in March 2021 after global social-justice awareness movements such as Black Lives Matter and Me Too. The investigations started with ICEC opening an online call for evidence in November 2022 which had 4,156 responses.
Then three months later a call for written evidence resulted lead to more than 150 responses. Crucial cricketing figures like England men's Test captain Ben Stokes, women's captain Heather Knight, former men's captain Joe Root, World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan, and Azeem Rafiq - the former county player, who was involved in a racism scandal at Yorkshire.
The ICEC report regarding the ECB concluded with:
1. "Structural and institutional racism" continues to exist within the game.
2. Women are treated as "subordinate" to men at all levels of the sport.
3. There is a prevalence of "elitism and class-based discrimination" in cricket.
4. Black cricket has been failed and the ECB must develop a plan to revive it.
5. Many who experience discrimination do not report it because of a distrust in the authorities.
6. Umpires regularly ignore abuse and dismiss complaints in both the professional and recreational games.
ICEC chair Cindy Butts also added a strongly worded comment towards ECB and its operations and stated that the board finally wakes up and considers these changes to truly make cricket a sport for all. Butts wrote, "There remains a stark reality that cricket is not a 'game for everyone' and it is absolutely essential that the work required to achieve that ambition must begin immediately.
"Be in no doubt, what is needed now is leadership. I very much hope that the recommendations we make in this report will be adopted and driven forward by the ECB and all others in leadership positions."
The ECB has since issued an apology on the back of this report which said, "Cricket should be a game for everyone, and we know that this has not always been the case. "Powerful conclusions within the report also highlight that for too long women and black people were neglected. We are truly sorry for this.”
"This report makes clear that historic structures and systems have failed to prevent discrimination and highlights the pain and exclusion this has caused. I am determined that this wake-up call for cricket in England and Wales should not be wasted. We will use this moment to demonstrate that it is a game for all and we have a duty to put this right for current and future generations."