05 May 2022

Essex fined £50,000 over historic racist comment

05 May 2022

Essex have been fined £50,000 and reprimanded after accepting two charges relating to a historic racist comment.

The club has admitted former chair John Faragher used the term ‘n***** in the woodpile’ during a board meeting in 2017, as well as its own failure to conduct a timely investigation into the matter. Faragher, who resigned last November, personally denies the allegation.

An independent cricket discipline panel concluded that a points deduction would be inappropriate in the circumstances and instead settled for the financial penalty, of which £15,000 has been suspended.

The club’s failure to address the situation once it was brought to the attention of the full board in January 2018 is presented as a major error in governance.

The written findings commend John Stephenson, Essex chief executive and interim chair, for attempting to confront the situation upon his appointment last year but note “he has been thwarted by the ECCC board, which has been paralysed by division” and “a lamentable logjam at board level”.

The panel adds: “The use of racist and discriminatory language such as this is plainly unacceptable: it’s utterance by a club chair is all the more deplorable.

“It is clear that the club has failed to uphold the standards expected of it, not only in respect of the conduct of its former chair but also as regards its failure to act appropriately or at all thereafter.

“It is also clear that the impact of this breach has had a negative effect both upon the game of cricket and upon the ECB.”

Essex said in a statement: “The club has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and any form of discrimination. We continue to work with the ECB to eradicate discrimination from the game, which includes implementing their 12-point action plan and the club’s further commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion policies and processes.”

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