Leicestershire chair Mehmooda Duke quits in blow to ECB’s diversity drive

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Non-white feminine chair steps down with instant impact as ECB postpone plan to sort out racism

The ECB has been pressured to postpone the publication of its plan to enhance diversity in English cricket, amid the abrupt departure on Thursday of one of many solely two non-white chairs of a first-class county.

Mehmooda Duke, who was additionally the one feminine in such a high-profile county function, and one in every of solely three feminine board members from black or minority ethnic backgrounds, had been due to step down on the finish of March to take up a brand new function as High Sheriff for Leicestershire.

However, she has now chosen to depart with instant impact, stating that “cricket had been torn apart by recent events”, and calling for “fresh leadership at national level” – a selection of phrases that locations additional stress on the ECB chief govt Tom Harrison, following his unconvincing show ultimately week’s parliamentary listening to into the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Leicestershire’s vice-chairman, Jonathan Duckworth, is about to turn out to be interim chairman till a long-term substitute is recognized.

“Cricket has been torn apart by recent events and I am deeply saddened by the hurt felt by individuals within our game,” Duke stated in her assertion. “With fresh leadership at national level and with a determination to learn from the recent past and move forward, I hope that racism and discrimination will be expunged from the dressing rooms, the fields, and the game as a whole, allowing us to celebrate the diversity which makes cricket and sport in this country so great.

“I want all of my colleagues on the board and throughout the community, the gamers, workers and the group groups, all the easiest for the long run,” she added. “I thank the Members, supporters, and sponsors for his or her unwavering loyalty to the membership and particularly throughout some troublesome instances.”

The news emerged as the ECB were forced to concede that their response to cricket’s racism allegations, drafted at an all-stakeholders meeting at the Kia Oval last Friday, was “not fairly there”, having originally been expected to be finalised by Wednesday.

Once the final wording of the plan has been agreed, it is expected to include a commitment to a 30 percent boardroom representation for women and “consultant ethnicities” at all first-class and national county clubs, as well as ongoing diversity training for all players, staff, umpires and coaches.

Meanwhile, Azeem Rafiq has met with a Holocaust survivor at the Jewish Museum in London, in the wake of his apology for anti-Semitic messages that he sent as a 19-year-old in 2011.

Rafiq, who is facing an ECB investigation for his comments – which included the suggestion that the Derbyshire player, Atif Sheikh, had been unwilling to spend money on a meal out because “he’s a jew” – met with Ruth Barnett, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1939, as well as Steve Silverman from the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

In his apology, Rafiq had said: “I’m extremely offended at myself and I apologise to the Jewish group and everybody who’s rightly offended by this,” and has dedicated himself to training on the problem of anti-Semitism.

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