All 18 first-class cricket counties ‘caught in the sport’s race storm’

Every single first-class cricket county in the country is now reportedly caught up in the race storm which has swept across the sport since revelations came to light from Azeem Rafiq during his time at Yorkshire.

An online survey from the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) went live on November 9, asking those who had suffered or witnessed racist behaviour to give evidence.

In the two weeks since, according to the Daily Mail, all 18 first-class counties have been implicated in at least one complaint received by the commission – with allegations of racist behaviour from players and ex-stars with connection to all the counties.

And the chairmen of all those counties met at The Oval last Friday to discuss the crisis and reportedly were open that they all have issues to resolve.

The English counties will have to provide details of what they plan to do to address the situation to the England and Wales Cricket Board and to the Government.

A 12-point action plan is being introduced in partnership with the ECB, which will include a push to increase diversity in all aspects of the professional game – from players and coaches to umpires and those a board level.

Those who fail to meet the new targets would be subject to tougher sanctions, which may include punishments such as the loss of rights to host international matches and financial penalties.

The ICEC will use the evidence gained from the online form to put together a report, which is set to be published next summer.

Following the testimony from Azeem Rafiq in front of a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing last week, in which he detailed the abuse he suffered during his time at Yorkshire, cricket bosses will be under pressure to fully implement any new measures recommended by that report.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire CCC announced on Monday that 36 people had contacted its newly-implemented whistleblower hotline in the first week.

It was set up at the direction of the club's new chairman Lord Patel, and is being overseen by Mohinderpal Sethi QC.

"I welcome the opportunity to lead this important independent investigation process," he said. "Those who report their complaints to the whistleblowing hotline should feel reassured that these matters will be addressed in a careful and impartial manner."

"It is essential that those who have experienced or witnessed racism, discrimination and abuse are able to come forward to share their experiences," Lord Patel added, thanking all those who had come forward to use the hotline so far.

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