Sports

Dressing Room Banter No Longer Acceptable Behaviour, Says ECB Chief Executive Richard Gould

He also made it clear that teams will have to reassess their culture to determine what is acceptable dressing room behaviour and what is not.

Gould said Yorkshire's issues go back more than two decades.
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The newly-appointed England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Richard Gould has said that dressing room banter will no longer be considered as acceptable behaviour and will be treated as 'swear word' instead. (More Cricket News)

He also made it clear that teams will have to reassess their culture to determine what is acceptable dressing room behaviour and what is not.

"We have seen within dressing rooms, banter used to be a word that you could use. But banter is a swear word now. Banter is not acceptable," said the 52-year-old Gould, who took over as ECB chief executive in February this year, was quoted as saying by 'Guardian'.

"It's up to the teams to ensure they have their own correct levels of control and to determine their culture. But they know the base level of what is and isn't acceptable."

Former England captain Andrew Strauss had also spoken on similar lines recently, urging cricketers to avoid dressing room banter bordering on racial harassment and bullying in order to avert controversies like the Azeem Rafiq fiasco.

The Pakistan-born Rafiq, who played for county side Yorkshire for almost a decade, had told UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) in November 2021 that racist comments and actions by fellow cricketers had left him "close to taking his own life".

Rafiq's testimony saw six former Yorkshire cricketers being found guilty of using racist language in the dressing room.

Gould said Yorkshire's issues went back more than two decades.

"I was taken by (former England cricketer) Mark Ramprakash (writing in the Observer) when he said nobody can be in any doubt as to the standards that are required," said Gould.

"Some of the difficult issues at Yorkshire went back 20 years and when you go back over 20 years, behaviours were different. As a society and sport we seek to improve year on year. (And) what we have seen at Yorkshire, I don't believe they are wholly a Yorkshire issue or a wholly cricket issue either."

In February this year, Strauss, the former ECB director of cricket, had said during his Marylebone Cricket Club Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's that with players of different nationalities and races now sharing dressing rooms more than ever, cricketers will have to be more guarded in what they say and do.

"As we move forward together as a game with players of different genders, races, creeds and beliefs coming together, so the traditional macho, hierarchical, perhaps at times verging on bullying dressing-room banter will need to be softened to a culture that is more tolerant, understanding, welcoming and embracing of difference," Strauss, one of the most successful England captains, had said.

He had also highlighted the significance of the spirit of cricket, saying the events of the last year-and-a-half -- when the Azeem Rafiq scandal unfolded and tarnished the image of England cricket -- had shown a lot more needed to be done to restore the image of the game.

"The events over the last 18 months, whether they come from Yorkshire or elsewhere have shown we have a lot of work to do in this area, but the spirit of cricket demands this."

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