Cricket’s race shame: Sportsmail investigation reveals county cricket’s shocking diversity problem


Cricket’s race shame: Sportsmail investigation reveals county cricket’s shocking diversity problem with only 33 BAME players across 18 clubs – while four teams have NO BAME stars and just six out of 93 coaches are BAME

  • Sportsmail have unearthed the details of the racial imbalance in country cricket
  • The alarming data shows seven teams have no BAME presence in the boardroom
  • ECB are ready to effectively fine counties who do not achieve greater diversity
  • England have recently seen a number of BAME stars play key roles in all formats 
  • But that diversity isn’t reflected in counties who will produce the next generation

The full extent of English cricket’s shocking diversity problem can be revealed.

An investigation by Sportsmail has unearthed details of the racial imbalance within county cricket, a professional sport almost exclusively populated by white players, coaches and administrators.

The ECB are so concerned they are ready to effectively fine counties who do not achieve greater diversity in the dressing room and the boardroom within the next two years. 

Jofra Archer has been a star performer for England after emerging from country cricket

Moeen Ali has been a key player for England in all formats of the game over the past five years

Adil Rashid is another BAME player who has broken into the England set-up but that diversity is not reflected in county cricket

So have Moeen Ali (L) and Adil Rashid (R) but that diversity is not reflected in county cricket

Chris Jordan has also established himself as a regular played in England's squads

Chris Jordan has also established himself as a regular played in England’s squads

Among many alarming pieces of data, Sportsmail’s investigation has found:

  • There were only 33 British Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) players on first-team staffs of the 18 counties this summer.
  • Four counties did not have a single home-grown BAME player in their squads, which number up to 28 for first-class and one-day duties.
  • A further four counties have only one BAME player on their books while seven counties had no BAME presence on their executive or in the boardroom.
  • Two-thirds of counties did not employ one BAME coach with their first-team or in the backroom staff. 
  • Of the 41 chairmen of county boards who comprise the ECB — 18 first-class counties, 21 minor counties, the MCC and Minor Counties Cricket Association — only one is from a BAME background, Leicestershire chair Mehmooda Duke. 

Under the terms of the new County Partnership Agreement, the ECB reserve the right to withhold a portion of the counties’ annual funding, which ranges from £3.6million to £3.8m, if they do not hit diversity targets, which have been set to ensure each county staff reflects the club’s community and local demographics.

While Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Chris Jordan have all been key members of England’s red and white-ball sides in recent years, that diversity is not reflected in the 18 counties responsible for producing the next generation.

Cricket is also grappling with some difficult issues regarding diversity and race relations, despite the support it has shown for the Black Lives Matter movement, with players from England and West Indies taking the knee before this summer’s matches.

Yorkshire opened a formal investigation earlier this month into allegations of ‘institutional racism’ made by their former off-spinner Azeem Rafiq. He said it had left him contemplating suicide and his harrowing account was backed up by former Pakistan seamer Rana Naved, who said he had to face ‘systematic taunting’ when he was on the books at Headingley.

Earlier in the summer, ex-England batsman Michael Carberry claimed cricket was ‘rife with racism’ and that ‘the people running the game don’t care about black people’. 

Former off-spinner Azeem Rafiq made allegations of ¿institutional racism¿ at Yorkshire

Former off-spinner Azeem Rafiq made allegations of ‘institutional racism’ at Yorkshire

The damning BAME numbers in County Cricket are laid bare in this table

The damning BAME numbers in County Cricket are laid bare in this table 

Ex-England batsman Michael Carberry recently claimed cricket was ¿rife with racism¿

Ex-England batsman Michael Carberry recently claimed cricket was ‘rife with racism’ 

Although the ECB published an Inclusion and Diversity strategy in July, the shocking homogeneity of county staffs shows how far the sport still has to go.

The governing body are also falling short themselves. After recent changes at Lord’s, the ECB are no longer complying with the Sport England code for the ethnic make-up of boardrooms.

Following Lord Patel of Bradford’s departure last month, the ECB board is now exclusively white, a situation that new chairman Ian Watmore admitted was unacceptable on his first day in the job.

As well as setting targets for the counties linked to funding, the ECB have taken several other significant steps since publishing their diversity strategy two months ago. An anti-discrimination charter, to prohibit discriminatory conduct and including an obligation to promote individuals from minority backgrounds, is being developed with ECB director Brenda Trenowden appointed as the board’s diversity champion.

In addition, the ECB have launched a bursary scheme for black coaches worth £29,000 a year that will operate alongside an existing programme for south Asian coaches, which is run in conjunction with the National Asian Cricket Council.

The ECB board is exclusively white following Lord Patel of Bradford¿s departure last month

The ECB board is exclusively white following Lord Patel of Bradford’s departure last month

New ECB chairman Ian Watmore has made improving diversity one of his priority jobs

New ECB chairman Ian Watmore has made improving diversity one of his priority jobs

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