Cricket news from ESPN

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Stumped by Human Rights

From the ECB’s equality policy:

“The ECB, in all its activities, is fully committed to the principles of equality of opportunity in cricket in England and Wales and aims to ensure that no individual is discriminated against on the grounds of age, gender, disability, race, parental or marital status, pregnancy, religion or belief or sexual orientation.”

From the ECB’s statement in 2008 announcing why Zimbabwe’s tour of England in 2009 would be cancelled:

“The ECB, who have been in constructive and extensive dialogue with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for some time, welcome the Government’s decision and share the Government’s concerns about the deteriorating situation and lack of human rights in Zimbabwe.”

The first paragraph of the wiki entry for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights in the United Arab Emirates:

“The United Arab Emirates includes the Emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, Ajman, Fujairah and Sharjah. Sexual relations outside of a traditional, heterosexual marriage are a crime and punishments range from jail time, fines, deportation, and the death penalty. A person may also face forced hormone treatments which may include chemical castration.”

I don’t know the veracity or actual application of that claim and neither am I suggesting that the situations in the Emirates and Harare are in any way analogous (although I’m not quite clear quite how many free and fair elections take place in either). However, as England will soon be jetting off to play Pakistan in the UAE with both a Zimbabwean coach and an openly gay wicket keeper, it does focus the mind a bit as to whether there exists a slight discrepancy in where and when the ECB deals out its equality cards? Notwithstanding the murky, cashy, real world that Giles Clarke has to inhabit, nor the ECB’s admirable support of Steven Davies since he came out earlier this year, is England’s tour to the UAE not perhaps another case of a sports organisation doing an awkward FIFA shuffle on the human rights dance floor?



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