Stephen Vaughan, the CEO, for The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said:
At Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) we are committed to doing everything we can to make cricket the most inclusive sport in England and Wales.
Today the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has published details of the further steps it will take to tackle some of the challenges identified in the recent ICEC report.
As a club we fully support the ECB in its quest to bring wide-ranging action to tackle discrimination in the sport from breaking down barriers for women and girls, increasing uptake within lower socio-economic groups, and being more representative of our ethnically diverse communities.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club recognises the hard work that needs to be done to achieve genuine change and whilst there is still far to go, some critical steps have been taken to build a more inclusive environment and better foundation for everyone associated with Yorkshire cricket (including YCCC, Northern Diamonds, the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation (YCF))
The YCCC Pathways performance programme has been a key factor in increasing inclusion and access to cricket for young people across the county. In 2022 we introduced measures to increase accessibility to the sport for those from low income households including removal of match fees and the provision of free kit. This has contributed to a 45% increase in attendees for regional observations for boys since 2021, and a 63% rise for girls, with more than 1,800 budding cricketers attending observation days so far in 2023. Within the YCCC Boys County Age Group, 30% are from a diverse background and 71% are from a state school background. For our Girls County Age Group 12% are from a diverse background and 82% are from state schools. We are holding further open trials in the coming months which we hope will further broaden representation in these groups, as well as a ground-breaking open trials day with the Lahore Qalandars at Bradford Park Avenue in October , as we look to unearth even more talent from the Men’s and Women’s game across the region.
At grassroots level we are seeing a record number of women and girls playing cricket and we strive to continue increasing this number over the next 12 months and beyond. The YCB has been central to this progress, working with local clubs to ensure facilities, matches and training are tailored to the needs of young girls and women coming through the doors. Whilst many have been inspired by our Northern Diamond professional side and the England Women’s team, the All Stars and Dynamos programmes have also played a key role in getting young girls interested in cricket with 2,139 girls taking part in the ECB’s two national programmes this year, and within the women and girls space, this year YCB have trained 180 female coaches/activators. We see this as just the beginning and are committed to using this enthusiasm to grow and improve the opportunities for women in cricket.
Meanwhile the YCF has partnered with a range of organisations to increase knowledge and social responsibility in the region including the Sheffield Caribbean Sports Club; the ACE Programme; Zero Waste Leeds; the Cric-Kit recycling initiative, the University of the third age (U3A); Walking Cricket programme and the Refugee Council, alongside a number of local organisations, to support people seeking asylum.
To increase accessibility and inclusion for both players, employees and spectators across Yorkshire grounds we employ a zero tolerance policy and run a whistleblowing hotline with a commitment to address every complaint of discrimination that is raised.
From our work with the Yorkshire and Humber Anti-Racism in Sport Group, to accreditation via the Muslim Athlete Charter, we’ve learnt that the only way to achieve success is by working together, from the grassroots level to the elite, in partnership with organisations outside of the sport.
At Yorkshire County Cricket Club we are optimistic that we can continue on our journey to bring about real and lasting change, and whilst there is still a long way to go and much to be done we are committed on our mission and will work with the ECB to do everything we can to learn from the past and use our hard-earned experience to help support other clubs on the journey to improving standards across the game and making cricket a sport for everyone.