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FEATURE9 October 2023

Hit for six: An experience of researching discrimination in cricket

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In June 2023, the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, formed in 2021 by the England and Wales Cricket Board, published a 140-page report on discrimination in the sport, the result of a two-year investigation. It found that racism, class-based discrimination and sexism were widespread, and offered recommendations including equal pay for female cricketers and increased diversity at board and management level. Marie-Claude Gervais, who led the research supporting the investigation, discusses the experience with Liam Kay-McClean.

What was the premise of the research?

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) wanted to better understand the lived experiences of discrimination in the game. We were hoping we might have 400 respondents [to the survey], and it turned out to be more than 4, 000. Much credit should be given to the ECB and the commission for promoting the project and encouraging people engaged with cricket, in whatever capacity, to share their stories of exclusion and inclusion in the game.

Did the high-profile nature of the issue have an impact on methodology?

The presence of the ECB is a strength and a weakness. Some people may have felt that the ECB was best placed to sort things out and, therefore, it was worthwhile contributing their views. Other people might have felt there was little point in contributing if the ECB managed the process. The creation of an independent commission addressed that lack of trust. Independence, transparency and accountability were clearer, ...