Key reforms to be voted on at Yorkshire should be seen as “the first step” in cricket rectifying racism in the game, a select committee’s chair has said.
The county will hold an extraordinary general meeting on 31 March to vote on changes to the structure of its board.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee report into racism in cricket, published in January, has now been endorsed by the government.
But the committee’s chair Julian Knight MP said this was just the start.
“Our view that sustained action is urgently needed to root out endemic racism in cricket is one that has now received overwhelming support from across the board,” he said.
“The England and Wales Cricket Board, Professional Cricketers’ Association and long-standing sponsors, who have severed their links with Yorkshire over the club’s approach to tackling the problem, are all now on the same page and the committee and the government are speaking as one.
“Anyone who still fails to acknowledge the deep-seated nature of racism in the sport, while using distraction tactics to frustrate much-needed reforms, is in the minority.
“Next week, by voting for the reforms put forward by Lord Patel, Yorkshire members can continue the process of the club’s rehabilitation. This should be just the first step in cricket putting its house in order.
“Such a move however will not only secure the long-term future of the club by restoring international matches to Headingley but will act as a signal to the wider cricketing world that, with the right will, strong and determined action can be taken to tackle the scourge of racism that has stained the game.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board said the reforms must be approved if lucrative international hosting rights are to be reinstated at Headingley.
The club was banned from hosting major matches last November over their handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal and potentially risked bankruptcy if the hosting rights had not returned.
Pressure started to mount on Yorkshire following two aborted previous attempts to hold the EGM after former chairman and current vice-president Robin Smith declared the new chairmanship of Lord Patel invalid.
On Wednesday, former Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves told the BBC that he had backed crucial changes to the club’s rules, and that the county “needs to move on”.
The committee has recommended that cricket face funding cuts if it fails to demonstrate it is ridding the game of racism, something which the Government has now endorsed.
It also supported the recommendation that the ECB provides quarterly updates on its progress on making the sport more inclusive.
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