English cricket to adopt NFL-style 'Rooney Rule'

London (AFP) –


The England and Wales Cricket Board is to adopt the "Rooney Rule" as part of an action plan aimed at boosting engagement with south Asian communities.

Cricket's version of the Rooney Rule, named after the former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League in the United States, will ensure at least one applicant from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds will be interviewed for any coaching position.

The Football Association announced it would adopt its own version of the rule for roles within the England set-up in January.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison cites the measure as a "really important" element of the governing body's national action plan.

"This is one of 11 recommendations we're starting from today after this long consultation process," Harrison told Sky Sports News.

"It is really important. We've got to eliminate any sense of unconscious bias in our decision-making."

England all-rounder Moeen Ali, who has won 145 caps across all formats, said there are still "barriers".

"Growing up in inner-city Birmingham, I fully understand some of the challenges and barriers for young south Asian cricketers," he said.

"I see many of those challenges now when I help my dad coach at his cricket academy."

Lord Patel of Bradford, an independent ECB director, said he grew up playing cricket in Bradford in the 1960s and had first-hand experience of the benefits of the sport.

"The passion south Asian communities in the UK have for cricket remains high -- but over 50 years later, there is still so much untapped potential," he said.

"This plan will help to change that, starting today."

The recommendations include the creation of at least 20 new urban cricket centres, 1,000 non-grass pitches and 100 grass pitches by 2024.

Community "talent champions" will also lead scouting efforts, with regular cricket sessions held in 6,000 urban primary schools.