Racist, sexist, elitist cricket? Not in my town …

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Labour Pat Osborne
Labour Pat Osborne

English cricket has been in the news for all the wrong reasons again this week, with a report from the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket finding ‘widespread and deep-rooted’ racism, sexism, elitism and class-based discrimination at all levels of the game.
As an active member of my local branch of Unite the Union – an organisation that exists to protect and further the interests of working people in our communities regardless of their race, gender, or any other protected characteristic – the findings were simultaneously unsurprising and surprising. Unsurprising because the attitudes and behaviours described in the report are too often reflected in workplaces and in wider society. Surprising because, as proud sponsors of Blandford Girls Cricket for the past three seasons, our branch’s own experience of community cricket could not be more different.
The report is encouraging, not just because it shows a commitment from the cricket community to root out racism, sexism and homophobia, but because it also seeks to address class-based discrimination – a form of discrimination that’s rarely even acknowledged as existing.
Encouraging too are examples from clubs like Blandford, which are clearly well on the way to ‘getting it right’.
It has taken effort, will, time and support, but Blandford’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is now self-evident, not only from the way that its membership reflects the full range of backgrounds of the people of Blandford and surrounding communities, but also from the concerted efforts made by the club to champion inclusion in cricket for under-represented groups such as women, girls, and people with disabilities.
And while Blandford Cricket Club continues to create such a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, I’m certain that our branch and other local businesses and organisations will want to continue to sponsor their mission to bring people together through cricket.
Pat Osborne,
North Dorset Labour Party

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