Essex are facing sanctions after falling “significantly short” of targets to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced.

The governing body has placed the county in a “non-compliance process” for failing to produce a clear timetable to deliver the changes asked of them in an action plan produced last year.

The ECB called for counties to meet diversity quotas of 30 per cent female representation and a “locally representative ethnicity” figure on boards by the end of April this year.

The action plan was part of the ECB’s response to Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to MPs in November 2021 about the racism he suffered during his time as a player at Yorkshire.

In its latest update on progress of the plan, the ECB has confirmed Essex are the only one of the 18 first-class counties to have either not met targets or produced satisfactory plans to do so.

A statement read: “The ECB has placed one organisation, Essex County Cricket Club, in a non-compliance process as they have fallen significantly short of their targets and do not yet have a clear action plan to deliver change within an appropriate timescale.

“As part of this process, Essex CCC must provide an updated action plan for approval by the ECB and sanctions may be considered if sufficient progress is not made within agreed deadlines.”

This comes after Essex were fined £50,000 earlier this year following an investigation into allegedly racist language used by former chair John Faragher during a board meeting in 2017.

Derbyshire, Durham, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Kent, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey, Worcestershire and Yorkshire have all met their requirements.

Hampshire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Sussex and Warwickshire have been granted additional time on a “comply or explain” basis having made positive progress but been unable to meet the deadline for “genuine practical or constitutional reasons”.

On a collective basis, the ECB says the county network, which comprises recreational boards as well as the first-class clubs, has surpassed diversity targets.

Across the 50 entities, there is now 31 per cent female representation on boards and 16 per cent ethnic diversity. These figures are up from 20 per cent and 10 per cent respectively since November 2021.