England managing director Giles calls for second chances to resolve racism crisis

By Sports Desk November 28, 2021

Managing director of the England men's cricket team Ashley Giles believes second chances are key to solving the racism crisis following Azeem Rafiq's allegations.

Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, which was eventually brought to light and taken in front of a parliamentary select committee on November 16.

He also accused Yorkshire and England of being institutionally racist, while Michael Vaughan has been stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show and the BBC's upcoming Ashes coverage amid Rafiq's allegations.

Vaughan, who allegedly said there were "too many of you lot" towards Asian Yorkshire players, has repeatedly strongly denied the allegations and recently apologised to Rafiq for the "hurt he has gone through".

Former England spinner Giles, who played alongside Vaughan in the 2005 Ashes win, believes people must be offered a second chance and an opportunity to educate themselves for cricket to move forward.

Asked specifically about Vaughan during a news conference, Giles responded: "I can't comment on what the BBC should do with one of their employees. But I think tolerance is really important.

"We all do make mistakes and we will again. But we have to be able to tolerate, educate and rehabilitate otherwise people aren't going to open up and share their experiences and learn.

"Does zero tolerance mean we shouldn't accept discrimination and racism? Absolutely. But not giving people second chances, I'm not sure that's a healthy way forward for us because it's certainly not going to bring people forward to either share their positive or negative experiences or even bring people forward to say, 'I just don't know – I don’t know how to react in this environment', or what to say.

"We all know that this can be a bit of a minefield. Even the language we use around this area almost changes by the month. 

"So for me we've got to educate more, we've got to call it out in the dressing room much more effectively if we see it because perhaps all of us in the past – and I'm not just talking about cricket – have let things go. 

"We've got to be prepared to call them out and by that I don't mean we kick chairs and tables over and start a fight. 

"We just make it very clear that those sorts of behaviours aren't right in our dressing rooms or environments and actually in all workplaces because, although cricket has an opportunity to do something very strong, I don't believe for one minute these same issues don't exist in society. 

"So I think it’s a collective responsibility for all of us to do something about this."

Joe Root's England side are already well into their preparations for the first Ashes Test in Australia on December 8 at the Gabba.

While aware of the boisterous crowds and lively occasions an Ashes Test can be, Giles insisted he has given his backing for Root to remove his players from the field should his team-mates be abused based on their nationality or race.

"We know crowds can be lively here – I've experienced that myself as a player," he added as he spoke from Australia.

"But I'd certainly trust Joe Root to do what is right on the field. If he chose to bring the team into the middle of the field and stop the game while that was investigated, then absolutely. 

"I don't think any of our players should be subject to any abuse actually but discrimination and racism particularly."

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    Hansi Flick warned his Germany side individual errors will be "deadly" at the World Cup after an entertaining back-and-forth Nations League encounter against England at Wembley.

    The visitors led by two goals after Ilkay Gundogan's penalty and Kai Havertz's expert long-range finish punished the Three Lions.

    However, three goals in the space of 12 minutes from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Harry Kane had already-relegated England in front with seven minutes to play.

    An error from goalkeeper Nick Pope allowed Havertz to make it 3-3 late on, but head coach Flick acknowledged Germany must be better at protecting a lead in Qatar.

    "The result is very disappointing. I think we were very stable after 2-0 and we made individual mistakes, and you have to say that England brought in two fresh players who then also played a part in making England more effective offensively," Flick said.

    "We made individual mistakes and that's why it's disappointing. 

    "You have to look at the whole game and I think we did many things well, really well. In a phase where we got the three goals, that shouldn't happen to us, because especially at a World Cup, things like that are of course deadly and you're eliminated faster than you think. 

    "Therefore, if you look at it positively, you simply have to say that we know what we can work on. 

    "We'll analyse the game properly again because, of course, at first glance, I've seen the goals conceded, just once or twice now, and that's partly individual, where we sometimes made the mistakes. And everyone has to do their job over 90 minutes and we have to work on that."

    Flick, though, was effusive in his praise of Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala, who was a constant thorn in England's side and drew the foul from Harry Maguire for Germany's opener from the spot.

    "Jamal just showed why he is an exceptional talent. He got us the second goal from in his own half and he's both defensive and offensive, I think he's a player that's good for us," Flick added.

    "And simply by his dribbling ability, he can pull out situations like penalties, but of course also he can move opponents around, one or two players are out of position and then it's a different situation. 

    "Then we have more room, more space and those are the things that are good for us."

  • 'I don't see a team that is miles ahead' – Gundogan confident about Germany's World Cup chances 'I don't see a team that is miles ahead' – Gundogan confident about Germany's World Cup chances

    There were mixed feelings from the German camp after Monday's dramatic 3-3 draw against England in the UEFA Nations League, with manager Hansi Flick calling it "a good test".

    Germany led 2-0 after a 52nd minute penalty from Ilkay Gundogan and a goal from Kai Havertz in the 67th, but that advantage was wiped out in just over 15 minutes.

    Luke Shaw struck in the 72nd, Mason Mount equalised three minutes later, and a penalty to Harry Kane put the English up 3-2 in the 83rd.

    Ultimately, an 87th-minute leveller from Havertz saw the two sides share the points, and it gave Flick some mixed emotions.

    "The first half was balanced, in the second we deservedly led 2-0 – then we made individual mistakes," he said. "It must not happen that we give up a lead like that. 

    "But we came back, that's the positive. It was a good test, we take a lot of positive things with us, but also negative things. There's some work for us to do, but we're optimistic, otherwise we could stay at home."

    Midfielder Joshua Kimmich provided a little more insight into exactly what went wrong to allow such a rapid collapse.

    "We had everything under control and deservedly led 2-0 – then we became far too passive," he said. "No longer pushing through consistently, defending far too deep, no longer having the courage to play against the ball… but in terms of body language and engagement, it was an improvement.

    "Everyone now has six weeks to get a good feeling and then we will attack."

    After scoring two goals, Havertz said to only get a draw from a match like that "must of course worry you" but suggested that it "was another good game to learn from".

    Meanwhile, Gundogan was not afraid to talk about Germany's lofty goals, saying they are heading to Qatar with the plan of making the final.

    "It's not unrealistic," he said. "Of course, a lot has to come together. I don't see a team that is miles ahead.

    "We have shown over long periods that we can do it at the highest level. We have to try to do that for 90 minutes. At a World Cup you have much less leeway to make mistakes than today."

  • 'England have come together and grown' – Southgate praises Three Lions character after Germany draw 'England have come together and grown' – Southgate praises Three Lions character after Germany draw

    Gareth Southgate hailed the "tremendous spirit" demonstrated by England, who he feels have come together and grown following their entertaining Nations League draw with Germany.

    The Three Lions head coach has come under pressure recently following a difficult spell of form that culminated in relegation from League A after defeat by Italy on Friday.

    Indeed, England have now gone six matches without a win for the first time since 1993. But they showed brilliant character against Germany on Monday, recovering from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 at Wembley, before Kai Havertz denied them victory.

    And Southgate is confident the sticky patch will benefit his players as all eyes turn towards the World Cup, which sees the 1966 winners face Iran in their Group B opener on November 21.

    "As a group, they have really come together this week," he told Channel 4. "It has been a tough period for team, but they have grown.

    "To an extent, we are always going to face pressure, so we need to be exposed to pressure. We played a friendly against the Ivory Coast in March and they went down to 10 men, and it became a non-event and we learnt nothing.

    "This week, we've learnt a huge amount. They've had to step forward and come together. It will benefit us in the long run.

    "In the end, a couple of errors have cost us the goals, but I'll focus on the fact they played with tremendous spirit and showed a belief that we haven't shown in the last few games. I thought the crowd saw that and rose to that."

    Meanwhile, captain Harry Kane insisted there were plenty of positives for he and his team-mates to build on heading into Qatar.

    The Tottenham forward marked his 50th start as England captain – becoming the fifth player to achieve the feat – with his 51st international goal, which moves him two away from equalling Wayne Rooney's all-time Three Lions record.

    "The mentality and fight of the team was shown out there today. We didn't get the win, but we can be proud of what we did," Kane said.

    "The boys have been under pressure with recent results and we all came out here with a point to prove. But there are lessons; we can still learn from the mistakes we made, but we scored three goals and I feel like this will put us in a positive mindset ahead of the World Cup.

    "We've upped our game as we've gone along in the last two major tournaments. We dust ourselves down. We know we have to improve but there isn't that much time now with England before that first game [against Iran].

    "But we'll go away with our clubs and hopefully everyone goes away fit, strong and is ready to come back in November."

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