The Essex report supports claims that former players were subjected to racist abuse – LSB

Garima
5 Min Read


A series of historic allegations of racist abuse at Essex County Cricket Club have been upheld by an independent report, including one player being found nicknamed ‘Bomber’ because of his South Asian heritage, and another being taunted with bananas for being black.

The allegations formed part of an independent investigation led by Catherine Newton KC, which was commissioned in November 2021 following the resignation of then chairman John Frager, who was accused of using the racist phrase “n****r ‘in the wood’” during a board meeting. In 2017. The report also supported this charge, as Essex was fined £50,000 by the European Central Bank earlier this year after admitting two charges related to that meeting.

The findings are detailed in a 38-page report, released by Essex on Friday, which supports the complaints of three former players as well as those made against Farage, and lists 15 recommendations for the club to identify and correct its wrongdoings where necessary. in the past.

Although no players were named in the report, the allegations referred to in the report were made by Jahid Ahmed, Maurice Chambers and Zohaib Sharif, all of whom have since left the club. Their complaints relate to the period from the mid-1990s to 2013, and the report concluded that the club had a culture in which ethnic, racial and religious comments were considered “banter”.

“Those who were on the receiving end of this treatment were too afraid to speak up for fear of damaging their selection and advancement prospects,” the report concluded.

Jahid, who was the first British-born cricketer of Bangladeshi origin to play county cricket, and Zohb were found to have been taunted as “curry chewers”. The two men also suffered religious discrimination because of their Islamic faith, including during a mandatory team meeting at a local bar during the holy month of Ramadan. One player was bluntly asked “Are you bombing us?”, following the discovery of two car bombs in central London.

Meanwhile, the report found that Chambers, a Jamaican-born fast bowler who grew up in east London, was targeted by an unnamed player who, as a member of the team, repeatedly offered him bananas in an “unequivocally racist” manner. Including on one occasion when he threw a banana down the stairs at their shared residence and told him to “go get it, you fucking monkey.”

Newton also noted that while many of the documented cases were historical racism, such behavior was not limited to the past — with one witness reporting comments including “stereotypical assumptions about relatives being Uber drivers or convenience store owners” in recent years.

Anu Mohindru KC, club president, said: “Essex County Cricket Club welcomes the publication of the independent report and is an important step in trying to right the wrongs of the past, but more importantly to create a brighter future for everyone associated with our club.”

“It is clear from Ms Newton’s findings that there have been some fundamental wrongdoings in the past, which do not reflect Essex today. Significant progress has been made across the club to build a workplace that values ​​and respects every individual, regardless of their background, identity and beliefs and this extends To the fantastic community work being carried out across the region and we understand our responsibility to our local communities as the county club that represents them.

“I have personally met with the victims to apologize on behalf of the club and explain the work the board has done in preparing the report. Following the recommendations of the independent panel, the club is now dealing with the process relating to any individuals who may be sanctioned. The club will deal with these matters promptly but fairly to the individuals concerned.

“I would like to thank everyone who was part of the investigation and commend those who have spoken out against discrimination. We would also like to thank Catherine Newton KC who worked meticulously throughout the process.”

Recommendations in the report include introducing mandatory EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) training for everyone who enjoys or takes part in Essex, an anonymous reporting facility, a comprehensive recruitment process, and monitoring opportunities to play for the first team to ensure they are “fair, merit-based and free of bias.” “.

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