Chris Grant OBE publishes open letter

19 Nov 2021

By: Sport Industry Group

As a result of English cricket being engulfed in a racism scandal, Sport England Board member Chris Grant OBE has addressed the leaders of English cricket in a detailed and passionate open letter.

In the letter, Grant explains that he is writing the letter because he believes that now is the moment where the leaders of cricket have a “rare and precious” opportunity to do something “good and important”.

Grant emphasised that if the counties and ECB don’t publicly acknowledge that they have a problem then they are at risk of alienating the next generation of cricketers who come from ethnic minority backgrounds.

However, Grant did mention that cricket as a whole has to take accountability for Rafiq’s experiences not just Yorkshire or the ECB but the game from grassroots down all the way up to the elite professionals.

Azeem Rafiq described the treatment he received from some of the club officials as “inhuman” after his son was still-born in 2017 and he concluded that English cricket is “institutionally racist”.

Since his testimony, more than 1,000 people have contacted an inquiry into discrimination in cricket in the past week.

Additionally, Grant stated that cricket is not alone in racism issues and pointed out the lack of representation in other sports such as football where the proportion of British people with South Asian heritage playing grassroots football is higher than their representation in the population, but fewer than 10 have ever made it to the professional level. He also stated that of the 399 athletes who represented Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, only one was a British Asian.

To conclude, Grant writes that the game has a “deep legacy of discriminatory assumptions, practices and behaviours, and that many ways in which it has mistreated or excluded people are clearly still problems today”. However, now is the perfect moment for significant change to take place.

To Read Chris Grant OBE’s open letter in full, please CLICK HERE.