ECB to redouble efforts to improve player education

The recent high-profile cases have caused concern for the sponsors

The recent high-profile cases have caused concern for the sponsors © Getty
Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, has admitted the governing body is having to reassure sponsors about the culture of the professional game in England and Wales after recent high-profile court cases.

Ben Stokes was cleared of two counts of affray at Bristol Crown Court last July after an incident in the city in 2017, also involving Alex Hales, and last week, Alex Hepburn stood trial on two counts of rape for an incident in April 2017 – the jury was discharged but Hepburn could yet face a re-trial. During the case, details emerged about a Whatsapp group involving Worce”We work closely with the PCA but it is our responsibility as a governing body to get on the front foot with addressing these issues whether they are about problem gambling, drink, consent or recreational drug use,” said Harrison. “We are working very closely with experts in the field to get those messages across but it is also a matter for each dressing room to take very seriously. Those messages have to be reviewed and updated to make sure the matters are tackled.”stershire’s Joe Clarke and Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore which recorded the trio’s sexual “conquests”.

Harrison said “efforts will be redoubled” by the ECB to ensure players know what is expected of them and he recognised that the game cannot afford yet more unsavoury incidents at a crucial time when the ECB are fighting for the attention of young families through its strategy for 2020-24.

“The reason why commercial partners get involved is because the culture beneath our game is something that attracts people, what cricket means beyond the performance of the England teams is this underlying sense of decency and team spirit. The spirit associated with the game is hugely important so we take it incredibly seriously,” said Harrison.

“We work very closely with partners on all matters, not just matters of culture but clearly there is a concern out there with commercial partners about some of the stories. But we work very closely with them to explain what we are doing on the back of some of these societal trends that are coming into the game.”

The PCA have been proactive in the area of education of young players, holding workshops on sexual consent with the Lions and England Under-19s squad and they have also done work on alcohol and gambling addiction for a number of years with the counties. Despite that good work, Harrison believes it is the ECB who have the ultimate responsibility to ensure player behaviour is up to scratch.

“We work closely with the PCA but it is our responsibility as a governing body to get on the front foot with addressing these issues whether they are about problem gambling, drink, consent or recreational drug use,” said Harrison. “We are working very closely with experts in the field to get those messages across but it is also a matter for each dressing room to take very seriously. Those messages have to be reviewed and updated to make sure the matters are tackled.”

[“source=cricbuzz”]