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Edgbaston Steps Up Fight Against Racism

Edgbaston Steps Up Fight Against Racism
Edgbaston Steps Up Fight Against Racism
©REUTERS
 

Warwickshire County Cricket Club has today promised to work even harder to deliver its zerotolerance approach against racism on its premises.

The pledge follows abuse experienced by some fans following India in the LV= Insurance Test Match at Edgbaston earlier this week.

Chief Executive, Stuart Cain said: “Nearly 100,000 people watched one of the most exciting Test matches in recent history earlier this week. But we cannot hide from the mindless racist abuse experienced by some fans following India in the Eric Hollies Stand.

“These unacceptable actions by a small number of people have over-shadowed a superb sporting contest, and those responsible do not deserve to be part of the cricket family.

“We need to work harder as people, as well as a venue, to take responsibility for ensuring that everyone feels safe and welcome when watching the game.”

Edgbaston Stadium has one of the most stringent approaches to stewarding in English cricket, with zero-tolerance of any abuse, whether it be racist, sexist, homophobic or any other form of discrimination.

But he admitted that in isolated areas this approach hadn’t been delivered and wasn’t enough to prevent what took place. G4S, Edgbaston Stadium's security partner, are now investigating to establish why the incident was not swiftly resolved.

He also committed the Club to new anti-racism initiatives from this Saturday for the Vitality IT20 between England and India and for Vitality Blast Finals Day the following weekend.

These include:

• Undercover football crowd-style spotters throughout the stadium to listen out for abusive behaviour and report it for immediate action.

• Increased police presence at games to handle incidents swiftly, enabling more chance of successful prosecutions. This needs to be supported by fans witnessing abuse being prepared to work with the police.

• Raising awareness of the Edgbaston App, encouraging all to download and use the home page Customer Services button to instantly report abuse to the control room. This was used to discretely report a separate incident of racial abuse at the Test. Security and police responded in less than six minutes, ejecting three people to the applause of those nearby.

This is the quickest and most effective way of reporting issues.

  • QR code stickers on every seat in the Eric Hollies Stand linking people to the app.
  • More prominent Code of Conduct posters, and everyone entering the Eric Hollies Stand having to wear zero-tolerance wristbands.
  • Zero-tolerance messages on the back of stewards’ hi-visibility jackets.
  • The Club will continue to publicly denounce any racist behaviour.
  • Anyone guilty of hate crime will be banned from Edgbaston Stadium and the ECB will extend this ban to all cricket grounds under its jurisdiction.

Stewarding Supervisors and Managers, who have already had Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity training, will now:

  • monitor situations more closely to ensure minor incidents do not escalate
  • address issues more seriously, at speed, and
  • once facts are established, eject anyone being abusive.

Cain added: “I was angry that a minority of people thought it acceptable to racially abuse a group of fans who were following India and bringing great entertainment to the Hollies. Those involved had already enjoyed three brilliant days, mixing with England’s Barmy Army and creating a welcome atmosphere with their singing and Dhol drums. But on day four they experienced some abuse after tea, and there is no excuse for that.

“This has given the Club renewed energy and motivation to work even harder to make sure Edgbaston is a place for everyone – regardless of race, sex, gender, ability or background. A few mindless idiots must not distract us. We are determined that any unacceptable behaviour will have a very public consequence.

“Meanwhile, I want to apologise directly to any fans who were subjected to racist abuse. Everyone at Edgbaston will work hard to do better, and they are welcome back with open arms in the future.”