Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, interim Chair, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Stephen Vaughan, CEO, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club said:
“Throughout the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) proceedings brought by the England and Wales Cricket Board, Yorkshire County Cricket Club has been driven by a determination to learn from the past. As a Club, we needed to accept and take accountability for the cultural issues which allowed racist and discriminatory behaviour to go unchallenged.
“In February, we accepted four amended charges relating to conduct which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket and/or may bring the ECB and/or the game of cricket into disrepute, all occurring between 2004 and 2021. This resolved the Club’s liability, and we did not attend the CDC hearings in early March.
“It is not for the Club to comment on the wider judgments made by the Panel. Our focus remains on achieving a reasonable sanction, and we will make representations in due course to the CDC Panel.
“In the meantime, the Board is working hard to secure the Club’s long-term future as we continue on our road to recovery, and we are making great progress in our ambition to become a more inclusive and welcoming Club for all.”
Selected reforms YCCC has implemented since November 2021:
Transforming our Performance Pathway:
- The Performance Pathway has been a key building block in ensuring Yorkshire is encouraging greater access to cricket for young people across the county.
- The Club has introduced measures to increase access for those from lower income households, including removal of match fees, the provision of kit free of charge, winter coaching provided free of charge and the creation of an accessible hardship fund for those that require further financial support.
- The Club has also taken steps to reduce the risk associated with selection and bias, to ensure that players are always selected on ability. This includes ending private one-on-one coaching from staff involved with the County Age Group Pathway, the creation of a selection committee, the application of a talent development framework and the recruitment of six high performance coaches to the programme.
- We have ensured safeguarding practices are ‘best-in-class’ and aligned to ECB:
- created a Yorkshire Cricket Safeguarding Committee;
- appointed a YCCC safeguarding board lead;
- appointed specific personnel in the Performance Pathway with lead role for safeguarding.
- The Club has taken on a Northern Diamonds & Girls Pathway operations manager to develop and transform the Girls Pathway in alignment with the Boys programme.
- All cricketers have access to YCCC Junior Memberships, giving them the opportunity to watch both the men’s team, and the Northern Diamonds during the season.
- Investment in these changes has helped lead to
- A 40% increase in attendees for regional observations, and a 60% increase in participants from a diverse background in our Boys County Age Group performance pathway
- A 62% increase in participation in observations in the Girls County Age Group from 2021-2022.
Implementing best practice processes around governance:
- Working with the ECB, the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Good Governance Institute, we have instilled more rigour in the management of the Club, ensuring our governance processes and structures are in line with best practice.
- This includes working with independent recruitment specialists to ensure fair and robust recruitment processes for the Chief Executive and Chair positions.
- The Club joined Inclusive Employers, which gives our staff access to extensive training and development opportunities around inclusion.
- The establishment of women’s, LGBTQ+, race and disability working groups that will ensure the Club is able to continue to make positive steps in driving inclusivity.
Driving Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) through a new framework:
- Our comprehensive EDI Plan seeks to ensure that everyone can be included and benefit from our great game. The plan focuses particularly on improving opportunities for:
- People from ethnic minority backgrounds
- Women and girls
- People with a range of disabilities
- Less well-off families
- The full plan can be viewed here – the Club continues to use it as the basis for its ongoing work in progressing EDI across the Club, and meets on a quarterly basis with the ECB and EHRC to review progress.
- Alongside the plan, more effective safeguarding measures for anyone interacting with the Club have been put in place, including investment in a whistleblowing hotline independently overseen by Mohinderpal Sethi KC.
- Monthly updates are provided as to the status of the hotline, which can be viewed on the Club website (latest update here)
Improving the matchday experience to encourage greater inclusivity and tackle discrimination:
- During The Hundred, Headingley formed more family-friendly and alcohol-free areas by reconfiguring the ground, turning the traditional Long Room into a Family Zone.
- The establishment of a volunteer army of friendly, welcoming ‘Yorkies’ – who help ensure everyone feels truly welcomed at our games, including those with particular needs or concerns.
- Promoted the RESPECT helpline, a five-digit text code for spectators at Headingley, York and Scarborough to use to report antisocial behaviour in a safe and discreet way.
- The creation of the free Controlled Audio Visual Environment (C.A.V.E.) sensory room to provide a safe haven for visitors on matchdays, helping to reduce social isolation for individuals and families. The C.A.V.E is free to visitors when booked in advance of matchdays. Find out more here.
Expanding the events calendar to reflect the diverse community the Club represents:
- In 2022 the Club hosted its first ever Eid and Diwali events, welcoming people from different cultures and backgrounds, including representatives from all major faith groups, to celebrate.
- The Club is looking forward to upcoming Eid and Iftar events this year.