Essex fined £50,000 after accepting historic racism charges

Essex have been fined £50,000 and warned as to the club’s future conduct after accepting two charges relating to a historic racist comment.

The club pleaded guilty to the charge that John Faragher, the former chair, used the offensive term “n***** in the woodpile” during a board meeting in February 2017, and also acknowledged that it had failed to conduct a timely investigation into the matter.

Faragher, who resigned last November, continues to deny the allegation, having insisted in a social media post in February that the process had been “entirely reactive and fundamentally unfair”, and driven to a large extent by Essex’s and the ECB’s desire to avoid the mistakes made by Yorkshire in their handling of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of institutional racism.

To that end, the written findings of the CDC panel commend John Stephenson, Essex’s chief executive and interim chair, for doing “all within his power” to take internal action on the matter, but noted that “he has been thwarted by the ECCC board, which has been paralysed by division”. This includes last week’s resignation of Wasim Haq, the board member who blew the whistle on Faragher’s comments, alongside fellow board member Paul Harvey.

“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,” the summary continued.

“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.”

Nevertheless, the panel – chaired by Ricky Needham, alongside Amrisha Parathalingam and Mark Milliken-Smith QC – also concluded that a points deduction would be inappropriate given that the comments had been made by a non-player away from the field, and allowed for £15,000 of the fine to be suspended for two years.

The club was also credited for its “significant motivation” to tackle racism and to “re-energise” its “historically positive approach to its EDI obligations”, both within the club and the wider community.

Responding to the CDC findings, 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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