Racism experienced by 14% of professional cricketers, survey finds

<span>Photograph: Gary Calton/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Gary Calton/The Guardian

More than 50 professional cricketers from around the world have said they have been the victims of racial discrimination within the sport. A global survey of more than 400 current players from 11 countries conducted by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations revealed that 14% felt they had been discriminated against based on their race. Almost two-thirds of the victims also said they felt they did not receive adequate support from their boards afterwards. In response to a separate query, 16% said they had felt “bullied, intimidated, or threatened” by their governing body, club or league.

“It’s clear that cricket has a long way to go to ensure that it is a safe and inclusive sport for all,” said Fica’s chief executive, Tom Moffat. The report does not provide a breakdown of whether or not the reports of racial discrimination were concentrated in particular countries, but acknowledged that English cricket in particular has “faced significant challenges” in recent times, with “the game brought into the national spotlight after multiple players came forward to highlight their experiences of racism and discrimination within the game”.

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English cricket is still waiting on the report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which interviewed more than 4,000 people about their experiences of discrimination across all levels of the sport. The ICEC chair, Cindy Butts, described the report as a “reckoning for the game”.

It is now due to be published in the new year. Fica’s report mentions some of the steps taken by the English Professional Cricketers’ Association in the meantime, which included recruiting a director of equality, diversity, and inclusion, as well as developing an EDI working group and education programme.

Almost half of the respondents said their relationship with the governing body in their country was either poor or very poor, while 13% said they had been made to feel uncomfortable by their board or club for being a member of a players’ association.

The report also highlighted the changing landscape of the game, with 49% of players saying that they would consider rejecting a central contract if they were paid more to play in domestic leagues. Overall, 74% still considered Test cricket the most important format, down from 86% in the 2018-19 survey. Almost half the respondents were open to the idea of bringing in four-day Test matches to free up more time in the calendar.

There was a significant drop-off in the popularity of the one-day game, with only 54% saying that they believed the 50-over World Cup was the “pinnacle ICC event”, down from 86% in 2018-19.

Just under 80% said there should be minimum/maximum thresholds for how much international cricket should be scheduled, while 63% said they wanted to see domestic competitions ringfenced in the calendar to allow them to coexist with international cricket.