Sporting bodies have not done enough to tackle racism – and scandal-hit Yorkshire Cricket Club is “stuck in the dark ages”, cabinet minister Sajid Javid has told Sky News.
He also accused cricket bosses of not taking the issue “very seriously”, revealing he had discussed the problem of discrimination in the game with them more than five years ago when he was culture secretary.
Speaking to Trevor Phillips On Sunday, the senior Conservative frontbencher said the England and Wales Cricket Board needed to “take a long, hard look at themselves”.
Mr Javid made his strong criticism amid the continuing fallout of the racism row that has rocked the sport, following the shocking testimony of whistleblower Azeem Rafiq about the abuse he suffered during his time at Yorkshire.
It comes as the under-fire ECB chief executive Tom Harrison insisted he had no intention of stepping down and said he was “determined to lead” the game through the current crisis, following an emergency summit of the sport’s leading figures on Friday.
Mr Javid, told Phillips that the racial slurs used at Yorkshire have never been just “banter”.
The health secretary said: “When I was growing up as a kid I was called P*** almost every day at school, I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now.
“I think the good news is our country has come a long, long way since then, but clearly not every institution in the country has taken that journey and it’s clear to everyone now that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is one of those institutions that have been stuck in the dark ages and needs to change.
“The ECB should be doing its job to make sure this is taken seriously throughout cricketing in the UK.”
Pressed over whether the government needed to stop trusting sporting bodies and step in, Mr Javid said: “I think it’s a very good question because I think the sporting authorities, whether it’s football, cricket, they talk the talk, but what have they actually done that’s really helping?”
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He added: “I remember when I was the culture secretary and overseeing sport in this country, I remember meeting the ECB then about issues of racial discrimination in cricket, and they were telling me what they were going to do, and look where we are now many years later, look at what’s happening, look at what’s been uncovered.
“I don’t think the ECB has taken this issue very seriously. I think they need to take a long, hard look at themselves. And now this is a real test for them and let’s see if they can pass it.”
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