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ECB chief: Support of Black Lives Matter message not political

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

England will join West Indies in wearing a Black Lives Matter logo on their playing shirts during the upcoming three-match Test series between the two sides.

The ECB has approved the move with the support of the England players, with an emblem – designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Watford FC footballer Troy Deeney – to feature on the shirt collar.

Athletes across the world have shown their support for the movement over the past month following a wave of anti-racism protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in the United States in May.

In the United Kingdom, footballers continue to wear a Black Lives Matter badge on their sleeves in the Premier League, having had ‘Black Lives Matter’ replace the names on the back of their shirts for the first 12 matches of the restarted season.

The League was, however, forced to clarify its campaign earlier this week as Black Lives Matter UK faces the spotlight for its criticism of Israel and calls to defund the police. A Premier League statement read: “We do not endorse any political organisation or movement, nor support any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity… We want our message to be a positive one that recognises football has the power to bring people together.”

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison echoed a similar stance, highlighting that his board’s support of the Black Lives Matter message is “not an endorsement, tacit or otherwise, of any political organisation”.

“The England and Wales Cricket Board fully support the message that Black Lives Matter,” said Harrison in an ECB press release. “It has become a message of solidarity and a drive for progress and societal change. There can be no place for racism in society or our sport, and we must do more to tackle it.

“Our support of that message is not an endorsement, tacit or otherwise, of any political organisation, nor the backing of any group that calls for violence or condones illegal activity. We are aware of certain aspects of the movement that promote their own political views, and their actions are not supported in any way by the ECB and our players.

“This moment is about unity. We are proud that our players will stand alongside those from the West Indies and wear a logo that embodies that philosophy. It is fitting that they do so in solidarity with athletes from the football world who wore it first. Our thanks go to Troy Deeney and his partner Alisha Hosannah, creator of the logo, who generously agreed to share it with us.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that cricket is truly a game for everyone. We will shortly set out further steps that build on the work we have already done to make cricket more inclusive and diverse in order to address some of the barriers which still exist for some communities.”

The Test series will begin on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl.

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