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Formal letter urging investigation into alleged institutional racism at ECB sent to Equality and Human Rights Commission

Solicitor Mohammed Patel is representing former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood in an ongoing employment tribunal claiming systemic discrimination at the ECB; Patel officially served the request to the Equality and Human Rights Commission on Friday

Detailed view of raindrops on an umbrella as rain abandons the days play during Day Four of the 2nd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on August 16, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images for ECB)

Calls for an Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into alleged institutional racism at the England and Wales Cricket Board have been formalised with a solicitors' letter to the chair of the organisation.

Mohammed Patel, who is representing former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood in an ongoing employment tribunal claiming systemic discrimination at the ECB, officially served the request to the EHRC on Friday.

Addressing the chair, Baroness Falkner of Margravine, Patel writes: "On behalf of those that instruct me, I will respectfully submit that the England and Wales Cricket Board has to date failed to adopt the policies that they themselves set out to eradicate racism in cricket.

"Given the widespread implications of this, I respectfully submit on behalf of my clients that there are compelling public interest considerations that require urgent investigation by the Commission in respect of the ECB.

"For the ECB to become 'an effective force for the attainment of ethnic harmony', we invite you to undertake a detailed investigation on the practices of the ECB which we strongly believe are institutionally racist."

The ECB this month named Cindy Butts as the chair of its Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, has introduced a new anti-discrimination code, and supported the Professional Cricketers' Association's education, diversity and inclusion programme.

An ECB spokesperson said: "We have established the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which is chaired by Cindy Butts, to examine all issues relating to race and equity in cricket. It will play an important role in helping us to listen and understand the reality of the inclusion challenges in the game, so that we can focus our efforts on ensuring that more people can say that cricket is a game for me."

Holder was removed from the ECB's Test panel in 1991 and was unable to secure a mentoring role despite 26 years experience in the first-class game, while 44-year-old Dawood contests that he was routinely denied promotion from the reserve list while less-qualified white candidates were fast-tracked.

The last Black, Asian and minority ethnic umpire to reach the first-class list was Vanburn Holder in 1992, but the ECB has committed to a more diverse national panel by the end of the year, as well as promising representation on all future selection panels.

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