ECB diversity strategy to focus on black communities
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison: "Alongside most of society, we have had to confront some uncomfortable truths in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement"
Last Updated: 08/07/20 6:44pm
The ECB have announced the first phase of its strategy to increase diversity in cricket, with particular focus on greater inclusivity for black communities.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison admitted that English cricket's governing body have had to "confront some uncomfortable truths" having faced increased scrutiny - both from outside and within - amid the recent prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The new strategy intends to improve representation in the games leadership and governance roles, educate and broaden understanding at all levels of the game, and to create opportunities and highlight role models for diverse communities.
"Alongside most of society, we have had to confront some uncomfortable truths in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement," Harrison said.
"We have listened and will continue to listen carefully to the experiences of Black people in cricket and society, and we thank those who worked tirelessly and spoke bravely to open up conversations about the change our sport needs to create.
"We have made strong strides in many areas to become a more inclusive and diverse sport, but we realise there is a great deal more to do."
Additional measures introduced will see the ECB work with county cricket teams to help them reach their own representation targets, which will include a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) guided by the make-up of the local population.
A new coaching bursary will be introduced for future black coaches, while cricket provision will be increased in primary schools, with a particular focus on more ethnically diverse schools.
The ECB have also said they will recommend that first class counties adopt the Rooney Rule, which is used by the English Football League to ensure that clubs must interview at least one BAME candidate for vacant manager's jobs, with that guideline only applying when there is a shortlist of interviewees.
It was also confirmed that a group of "black influencers and stakeholders" are to be recruited from across the sport, in order to share insight with the ECB and support further development plans.
The new measures are set to work "in cohesion" with the ECB's 'Inspiring Generations' programme, which they appear to have accepted had the potential not to deliver for all of the country's communities.
Harrison said: "Our Inspiring Generations strategy - with the launch of The Hundred and initiatives to increase participation among women and girls and get more schools playing - represents a five-year plan to grow cricket and make it more relevant to our diverse nation. These first steps in our expanded Inclusion and Diversity plans will now support it and help us make sure we don't leave anyone behind.
"We are thankful to those within cricket who have given us their views and insights and are committed to keeping us honest and focused on our delivery to Black communities. Through their experiences, and their desire for change, we are certain we can start to create lasting foundations into Black communities and see a future that creates a more inclusive cricket world.
"This is the first phase of our new plans, and we know we can never stand still if we are to be truly inclusive and diverse. We will continue to listen to, consult and collaborate with diverse communities to develop further. We remain committed to learning more, growing more and achieving more with open minds and a single-minded philosophy to deliver on our aims - to see a generation inspired to say that 'cricket is a game for me'."