Photograph: Gary Calton/The Guardian
More than 50 professional cricketers from around the world have said they have been victims of racial discrimination within the sport. A global survey conducted by the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations of more than 400 current players from 11 countries revealed that 14% felt they were being discriminated against on the basis of race. Nearly two-thirds of the victims also said they felt they had not received adequate support from their advice afterwards. In response to a separate question, 16% said they felt “bullied, intimidated or threatened” by their governing body, club or league.
“It is clear that cricket has a long way to go to ensure it is a safe and inclusive sport for all,” said Fica chief executive Tom Moffat. The report does not provide a breakdown of whether or not reports of racial discrimination have concentrated in particular countries, but it did acknowledge that English cricket in particular has “faced significant challenges” in recent times, with “the game brought into the spotlight national teams after multiple players came forward to highlight their experiences of racism and discrimination within the game”.
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English cricket is still awaiting the report from the Independent Cricket Equity Commission, which interviewed more than 4,000 people about their experiences of discrimination at all levels of the sport. ICEC President Cindy Butts described the report as a “showdown for the game”.
It should now be released in the new year. Fica’s report mentions some of the steps taken by the Professional Cricketers’ Association of England in the meantime, including the recruitment of a director for equality, diversity and inclusion, as well as the development of an EDI working group and an educational program.
Nearly half of respondents said their relationship with their country’s governing body was poor or very poor, while 13% said they felt uncomfortable with their board or club for being a member of an association of players.
The report also highlighted the evolving landscape of the game, with 49% of players saying they would consider turning down a central contract if they were paid more to play in domestic leagues. Overall, 74% still considered Test cricket to be their most important format, down from 86% in the 2018-19 survey. Nearly half of those questioned were open to the idea of introducing four-day test matches to free up more time on the calendar.
There was a significant decline in the popularity of the one day game, with only 54% saying they thought the World Cup 50 over was ‘the pinnacle of the ICC event’, down from 86% in 2018-19.
Just under 80% said there should be minimum/maximum thresholds for the amount of international cricket to be scheduled, while 63% said they would like to see domestic competitions delimited in the calendar to allow them to co-exist with international cricket.