Headingley: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has lifted the suspension on Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) hosting international and major cricket matches at Headingley.
The decision follows a rigorous review of progress made against several criteria set out in November 2021 to tackle racism at the club.
The Board acknowledged the hard work and good progress made by the Club but made their decision conditional on further requirements they wished to be implemented by March 31, 2022.
The requirements are: Resolving the issues relating to rules changes and decisions at the club which have been subject to procedural flaws; Amendments to club rules relating to the appointment and operation of the Board, including removal of Graves Trust powers.
Headingley will now host England’s third Test against New Zealand in June this year as well as the Royal London One-Day International with South Africa in July.
YCCC has also made a number of longer-term commitments including: fully delivering on governance reforms; appointing a new Board to drive and be accountable for the change required; making Headingley a welcoming and inclusive experience on match days, including a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of discrimination; significant changes to the County Age Group Pathway for boys and girls to remove barriers to progression; and delivering on all other commitments in the ECB’s 12-point plan to tackle discrimination.
“The Board welcomed the hard work and actions taken by Yorkshire County Cricket Club towards putting the Club on a new path. Alongside the progress already made, we considered many factors in reaching our decision,” Barry O’Brien, Interim Chair and Cricket Non-Executive Director at the ECB, said as per an official release.
“Amongst them, the impact on fans who have bought tickets in good faith and the young people who will benefit from Yorkshire’s improved outreach and pathway provisions. Finally, the Board was mindful that the return of international cricket will support continued change and progress at the Club,” he added.
Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, said: “I welcome this decision and thank the Board of the ECB for supporting the return of international matches at Headingley once again. We have worked night and day to bring about tangible change at Yorkshire, and the removal of the sanctions has validated and reignited our drive for positive progress.
“I would like to thank the ECB for its support, and its robust challenge throughout the process. It has been a difficult period for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and there remains a lot of work to be done, but the level of scrutiny has pushed us towards implementing action which will not only transform this club but can lead the way forward for the sport as a whole,” he added.
Progress will be monitored quarterly by the ECB, alongside the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).