Ashley Giles outlines how cricket may 'have a problem' in racism fight

Ashley Giles warns cricket ‘will have a problem’ in its fight against racism if people aren’t given ‘second chances’ as England managing director admits ‘all of us have made mistakes’ – and says Ashes squad have watched Azeem Rafiq’s testimony

  • England’s Ashes squad in Australia have kept up with Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism and discrimination against Yorkshire
  • Managing director Ashley Giles has reiterated there should be a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to the issue within cricket
  • But Giles also believes people deserve ‘second chances’ and the opportunity to ‘rehabilitate’ instead of ‘cutting them off’ 

England managing director Ashley Giles has warned cricket will ‘have a problem’ in its fight against racism unless it gives people ‘second chances’.

Giles revealed there had been lots of reflection from within England’s Ashes squad in the wake of the racism scandal raised by Azeem Rafiq’s allegations against Yorkshire and said ‘discrimination of any form just isn’t acceptable’.

He added: ‘If zero tolerance means there is no acceptance of racism and discrimination, absolutely, that’s completely right. 

England’s managing director Ashley Giles says the Ashes squad has followed the story of Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations against Yorkshire and reflected on his testimony 

Rafiq gave powerful testimony to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee  

‘But for me, if zero tolerance means that we cut people off, we don’t give second chances, we don’t give people the chance to rehabilitate, then I think we’ve got a problem.

‘This area is such a sensitive area, a difficult one for some people to talk about, but I fear if we take that route that the gap may widen and not lessen.’

Giles said many of England’s touring party had listened to former Yorkshire bowler Rafiq’s testimony when he spoke to MPs about his experiences and that cricket had a ‘great opportunity’ to lead the way in how sport and society tackles discrimination.

Giles’ former England team-mate Michael Vaughan was accused by Rafiq of making racist remarks, which the ex-Yorkshire captain has denied.

Vaughan, now a television pundit, has apologised to Rafiq ‘for all the hurt’ he suffered and will not be a part of the BBC’s Ashes coverage. 

England captain Joe Root takes a breather during a net session at The Gabba on Sunday

Giles added: ‘It’s not an excuse for poor behaviour, but I’m sure all of us have made mistakes at times.

‘I’ve been involved in the game over the last 30 years and I’m sure there will be incidents and things I’ve said that I wouldn’t be proud of in a different time and a different context.

‘I’m sure cricket is not alone in those experiences, but it’s clear we need to keep creating environments where people can keep coming forward and sharing those experiences so we can talk about these issues.

Giles (second left) and Michael Vaughan (second right) celebrate Ashes victory in 2005

‘To do that we need to educate, we need to share and I also think we need to tolerate.’

Giles insisted people must be given the chance to learn from their mistakes if cricket was to move forward.

He added: ‘We all know it can be a bit of a minefield, even the language we use around this area changes almost by the month.

‘So for me, we’ve got to educate more, we’ve got to call it out in the dressing room much more if we see it, because perhaps all of us in the past – and I’m not just talking about cricket – have let things go.’ 

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