Essex have fallen “significantly short” of diversity targets for their board introduced by the ECB and have been told that they could face sanctions.

The ECB’s action plan to tackle racism and all forms of discrimination, published in November after what outgoing chief executive Tom Harrison described as an “earthquake” of revelations around institutional racism, included a target for county boards to feature 30% female representation and “locally representative ethnicity” by the end of April 2022, which has been achieved at an aggregate level.

Two-thirds of the first-class counties have met targets or are in the final stages of recruitment and have committed to doing so, while five – Hampshire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Surrey and Warwickshire – have been granted “comply or explain” extensions.

But the ECB said in a statement on Tuesday that Essex had been placed “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”.

The statement added: “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.”

Essex were fined £50,000 last month by a Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) panel and warned over future conduct after accepting two charges relating to a historic racist comment by John Faragher, their ex-chair.

Elsewhere in the latest update on the action plan, the ECB said it had made £2.5 million of funding available to support facility development to “improve provisions for families and under-served communities” at professional venues.

The ECB ha also started recruiting for a new ‘head of discipline’ to manage discrimination allegations, assist counties and oversee investigations processes.