English cricket makes plans to increase diversity

LONDON (AP) — The head of English cricket said Tuesday the Black Lives Matter movement has forced the game to face some “uncomfortable truths” as the country’s governing body announced initiatives, including the use of the Rooney Rule, to increase diversity at every level of the game.

The England and Wales Cricket Board wants the Rooney Rule, which was first implemented in the NFL and requires that at least one person from a minority is interviewed for each position advertised, to be adopted for coaching positions throughout the game.

A game-wide anti-discrimination charter and code will also be introduced, covering players, coaches, fans, media and clubs.

The moves were announced shortly after England’s stand-in test captain, Ben Stokes, said players would show a “gesture” of support for the Black Lives Matter movement when international cricket returns with a match against the West Indies on Wednesday, though he stopped short of saying players would take a knee.

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ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said the plans were a first step towards ensuring cricket was more open and diverse.

“Alongside most of society, we have had to confront some uncomfortable truths in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Harrison said. “We have listened, and will continue to listen carefully, to the experiences of Black people in cricket and society, and we thank those who worked tirelessly and spoke bravely to open up conversations about the change our sport needs to create.

“We have made strong strides in many areas to become a more inclusive and diverse sport, but we realise there is a great deal more to do.”

The ECB said it would work to increase the ethnic diversity of its own board, as well as leadership structures throughout the game, saying the aim would be to “have at least 30% women and a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) target guided by the make-up of their local population — as quickly as possible.”

A new coaching grant will be introduced for future Black coaches, while an increased cricket provision for primary schools will be focused on ethnically diverse areas to create more opportunities.

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