Sky Sports and the ECB will each put forward £100,000 to support the Kick It Out project – its first venture outside football.
Cricket has been hit hard by allegations of racism levelled by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq and others within the last year, and has faced more recent accusations of elitism within its talent pathways from former England international Matt Prior.
The partnership with Kick It Out – which has been working to combat discrimination in football for almost 30 years – forms part of the ECB’s game-wide 12-point plan to tackle discrimination in the sport.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison faced MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee on Monday to update them on the organisation’s progress towards making cricket a more inclusive sport.
The committee has recommended that public funding for cricket be limited if sufficient progress is not made.
Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett said: “Cricket has been highlighted over the last year as a sport potentially in need of a new direction, when it comes to driving inclusion and equality, and we want to use the significant expertise we have developed in this area in football to see if there is an opportunity for us to support in cricket.
“On behalf of Kick It Out, I’d like to extend our thanks to Sky for a donation that will fund extensive research and consultation into the issues cricket faces, whilst also identifying focus areas for the future.
“We will begin an exploration of where and how Kick It Out might be able to help address those problems, and through close collaboration with the ECB, we will determine what action needs to be taken by cricketing organisations in England.”
His ECB counterpart Harrison said: “Tackling discrimination in our game is the number one priority for us, and we are aware we have work to do in this area.
“It is for that reason that we are excited about the experience and insight that Kick It Out will bring to our efforts to improve the sport’s equity, diversity and inclusion practices.
“With their help, we hope to successfully identify and address areas of need within cricket, and I am very confident that we can foster the kind of sporting environment that genuinely promotes social integration and understanding between all participants and fans within the game.”
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