The chairman of Middlesex County Cricket Club, Mike O’Farrell, has come under fire for comments made to MPs investigating institutional racism in the sport.
Speaking before MPs on the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee on January 25, O’Farrell made comments suggesting that Black and Asian communities are not interested in cricket.
“The other thing in the diversity bit is that the football and rugby world becomes much more attractive to the Afro-Caribbean community,” O’Farrell said.
He then added that the “South Asian community… do not want necessarily to commit the same time that is necessary to go to the next step because they prefer — not always saying they do it — but they sometimes prefer to go into other educational fields, and then cricket becomes secondary, and part of that is because it is a rather more time-consuming sport than some others.”
The top 10 cricket countries in the world, ranked by the ICC, include India, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Australia and New Zealand are ranked first and second, England is fourth. O’Farrell has since apologised for his comments.
Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq was one of the first to condemn O’Farrell’s comments, saying they showed “just what an endemic problem” cricket has – referring implicitly to racism as the problem.