Roland Butcher, first black cricketer to play for England, played three Tests and as many One Day Internationals. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Roland Butcher, who was the first black cricketer to represent the England team, said football had been more proactive than cricket over the years to tackle the menace of racism.

The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has been raging around the globe following the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police personnel in the US in May.

Recently, West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite said taking a knee is not enough in the fight against racism as according to him, a change in mindset is needed across the world. “I must say football is a lot better now than it used to be. Football has done a lot to clean up its act,” the Barbados-born cricketer said in an interview with an Indian website.

“They have been very proactive. For a number of years, cricket has not been. I think cricket has sat silently back and really said nothing. I think generally, it is less tolerated in football than it is in cricket,” added the 66-year old who has played three Tests and three ODIs for England.

Asked if he ever faced racism, the former Middlesex batsman said: “People never abused me directly. I’m not saying that there wasn’t any racism. Obviously, people may have said things that you didn’t hear etc. etc.

“I did not encounter the sort of racism that some other people did. I know some other people were really abused and caught all sorts of things.”

On taking out racism from the sport and how difficult it is, he added: “It is difficult, but as I say if the clubs can really set the agenda and have a policy of not tolerating any form of racism. They have to show the way.”