LONDON: Britain’s sporting bodies have not taken accusations of racism seriously, health secretary Sajid Javid said on Sunday.
Speaking on Sky News's weekly politics show Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Javid said racist language used at Yorkshire County Cricket Club was not “banter” as had been suggested.
The British-Pakistani minister called for the organization to change amid claims by former cricketer Azeem Rafiq that he faced institutional racism and racist language at his former club.
“I was called P*** almost every day at school, I didn’t like it then, I don’t like it now,” Javid said.
He added that sporting authorities like the England and Wales Cricket Board had not done enough to tackle racism.
“I think the sporting authorities, whether it’s football, cricket, they talk the talk, but what have they actually done that’s really helping?” Javid said.
“I remember when I was the culture secretary and overseeing sport in this country, I remember meeting the ECB then about issues of racial discrimination in cricket, and they were telling me what they were going to do, and look where we are now, many years later, look at what’s happening, look at what’s been uncovered.”
The minister said the ECB has not taken racism seriously and the administrative body needed to “take a long, hard look at themselves.”
“And now this is a real test for them and let’s see if they can pass it,” he said.
Javid said that although Britain has come a long way in tackling racism, not every institution in the country has taken that journey and “Yorkshire County Cricket Club is one of those institutions that have been stuck in the dark ages and needs to change.”
Former Yorkshire county cricketer Rafiq revealed last year that non-white players at the club were called “P****” and “elephant washers.”
A legal battle followed, and Yorkshire Cricket Club accepted Rafiq had been the victim of “racial harassment and bullying” after an investigation. However, a full report into what happened is yet to be released publicly.
On Tuesday, Rafiq told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee how racist language was “constantly” used during his two spells at the county club.