John Stephenson Responds to ECB EDI Action Plan Update


Following England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) third update on the implementation of cricket’s equity, diversity and inclusion action plan, Essex County Cricket Club are focused on making positive changes to the Club’s governance and Board structure for the benefit of the organisation, cricket, and all stakeholders.

Chief Executive and Interim Chair, John Stephenson can address the steps in place to surpass the minimum Board diversity targets and an open application process to form a diverse County Governance Structure.

“The Club continue to make great strides in creating a Board which represents the diverse communities we serve as Essex Cricket.

“We have had to overcome many obstacles to date, but I am pleased with the progress we are making and the plans in place to implement a positive change.

“The ECB issued the Club with a formal letter regarding non-compliance and this forms part of the process in driving change.

“We are taking the whole process very seriously and it was disappointing that the Club were singled out from the nine other County organisations who also don’t currently comply.

“I am in constant dialogue with the ECB regarding our progress and they completely support everything we are doing to address the issues they raised. We are undergoing an action plan to address Board diversity, which forms part of an ongoing process to apply changes.

“We will soon be releasing the full independent investigation into historical allegations of discrimination at the Club, which has been carried out by Katharine Newton QC. Once published, the recommendations will be implemented and a date for the 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) confirmed.

“We foresee possible amendments to the Club’s Constitution which will be proposed and ratified at the AGM, along with the election of five new board members through a Members’ ballot. These positions will be part of an open application process, which will be made public imminently.

“There will also be the appointment of three new directors, created by the recent resignations of Ronnie Irani, Wasim Haq and Paul Harvey.

“The Club are also aware of the recent Times article that referenced possible further sanctions against Essex County Cricket Club, including removing hosting rights for women’s international fixtures and points deductions; both of which fall short of the mark.

“We are seen as an exemplar in the country for work in the Community and player pathways.

“Essex Cricket in the Community have been commended for the Board diversity compliance, following the application process to welcome Claire Smith, Unmesh Desai and Mouhssin Ismail as Board members, and Rachael Lewis as Chair.

“I can assure our Members, supporters, commercial partners and other stakeholders that plans to drive compliance will be implemented in time to meet the ECB deadlines and we are confident that no further sanctions will be taken against the Club.”