Essex have been hit with a £50,000 fine by the Cricket Discipline Commission after an investigation into allegedly racist language used by the former chair John Faragher during a board meeting five years ago.
Faragher has denied using an expression with the N-word in 2017 but, after the matter was investigated by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary arm in response to a whistleblower coming forward last year, the club pleaded guilty to two breaches of the ECB’s directives.
These relate to directive 3.3 – an act or omission that may be prejudicial or bring the game into disrepute – and cover the terminology allegedly used by Faragher and the club’s failure to address the issue at the time. Faragher has since stood down as chair, along with seven other board members.
The CDC panel, headed by Ricky Needham, alongside Amrisha Parathalingam and Mark Milliken-Smith QC, announced the sanction on Thursday. The £50,000 fine, which took into account the club’s subsequent apology and “restatement of its commitment against discrimination”, includes £15,000 suspended for two years.
In the full CDC ruling, which included Essex being cautioned as to their further conduct and reprimanded, it said: “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.
“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.”
Essex said: “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 & inclusion policies and processes.”
While the sanction may draw a line through Faragher’s reported transgression, the club is still investigating allegations of historical racism brought forward by three former players last year after Azeem Rafiq’s explosive testimony in parliament regarding his time at Yorkshire.