United Kingdom

Cricket's governing body is embroiled in hypocrisy storm after it kept on 'racist' adviser

Cricket's governing body was last night branded hypocritical after retaining a board member accused of racism and sexism – but suspending a player over his teenage tweets.

Delia Bushell was allowed to remain a non-executive director of the England and Wales Cricket Board last year, despite being forced to resign as head of the Jockey Club for allegedly sharing offensive material.

And even though her term has now expired, she has been retained as an adviser, to offer her ‘wise counsel’ to the under-fire organisation.

It was a contrast to the action taken against England bowler Ollie Robinson, 27, who was suspended over racist and sexist tweets he posted as a teenager

Her treatment contrasts with the action taken against England bowler Ollie Robinson, 27, who was suspended over racist and sexist tweets he posted as a teenager.

And yesterday the storm engulfing cricket intensified as Lancashire announced it was investigating five players over more than 50 ‘abhorrent’ tweets dating back a decade. It is understood three of the players were under 18 at the time the messages were sent.

She is said to have cited an activist who described George Floyd, whose murder by a Minneapolis police officer sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, as a criminal, and shared a tasteless sexual meme about Britain’s Got Talent singer Susan Boyle.

But her lawyers claimed she had been ousted by a ‘cabal of male co-conspirators’ over her ‘attempt to eliminate misogyny, racism and other reactionary forces’.

Despite the scandal, she continued as an ECB board member for nine months until May, and has been retained in an advisory role. Independent peer Lord Austin of Dudley said last night: ‘It is completely hypocritical for the ECB to suspend a young cricketer’s career for comments made nearly a decade ago while apparently turning a blind eye when it came to remarks allegedly made by a member of their own board last year.

England's Ollie Robinson fields on the fifth day of the first Test cricket match between England and New Zealand 

‘This looks like a classic case of one rule for the powerful bosses and one rule for the players.’

Tory MP Giles Watling, added: ‘If you are going to take the moral high ground, you’d better be cleaner than clean.’

The ECB declined to comment but yesterday announced a ‘social media review to address any historical issues’ among staff and players.

Meanwhile, Lancashire’s chief executive Daniel Gibney confirmed his ‘immediate review’ into players’ old tweets. Roisin McCallion of campaign group Stump Out Sexism, said: ‘The tweets in question are undeniably utterly abhorrent.’

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