Azeem Rafiq to give evidence to MPs at DCMS hearing into Yorkshire racism allegations report

Azeem Rafiq to give evidence to MPs at DCMS hearing into Yorkshire racism allegations report

Azeem Rafiq
A former England youth captain, Azeem Rafiq captained Yorkshire in a Twenty20 fixture in 2012

Azeem Rafiq will give evidence in person to MPs into a report about allegations of racism he made against Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

The report found Rafiq had been a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” at the club.

However, Yorkshire has said no disciplinary action would be taken.

Senior Yorkshire officials have also been called to attend the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing on 16 November.

Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton will be questioned by MPs, along with chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Witnesses who give evidence to select committees are protected by parliamentary privilege, which means they are immune from the threat of civil or criminal proceedings relating to what they say.

Julian Knight MP has called on the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club to resign after a leaked report emerged apparently containing details of the investigation into the treatment of Rafiq.

A story published by ESPN says the report had concluded that a racially offensive term used towards Rafiq was regarded as “banter”.

Knight, chair of the DCMS select committee, called it “one of the most repellent and disturbing episodes in modern cricket history”.

In a tweet, he added: “Given the endemic racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, I struggle to think of any reason why that the board should remain in post.”

YCCC did not comment on any of the allegations when contacted by BBC Sport.

Knight’s comments came after UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid had called for “heads to roll” at Yorkshire and said that if the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) did not take action, “it’s not fit for purpose”. He further stated in a Twitter post that the term allegedly used to describe Rafiq was “not banter”.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries called Rafiq’s treatment “disgusting” and said “the investigation that followed only makes it even worse”.

In a tweet, she added that any ECB investigation must be “swift and fully transparent. Racism must be confronted, and NEVER written off as just ‘banter'”.

The ECB has begun its own investigation and a spokesperson said: “Last week, we received Yorkshire CCC’s report into the racism and bullying allegations Azeem Rafiq made against the club.

”We are conscious about the length of time that Azeem has waited for resolution and the toll that must be taking on his wellbeing and that of his family. We are sorry that, as a sport, this has not yet been resolved.

”We will conduct a full regulatory process that is fair to all parties, but also ensure this happens as quickly as possible. To achieve this, we have secured the services of a QC, along with other external investigatory support to upweight resource around our process. The ECB board has also reaffirmed its commitment to further additional resource, should the investigation require it.

”We are aware that the [DCMS] Select Committee have called Yorkshire’s chair, Roger Hutton, to give evidence. In the meantime, we will press ahead with our investigation.”

Last year, Rafiq claimed “institutional racism” at the club left him close to taking his own life.external-link

Seven of the 43 allegations were upheld in a report by an independent panel.

Hutton apologised to Rafiq – who had two stints with Yorkshire, the second ending in 2018 – and said there was “no question” that during his first spell at the club he had been “the victim of racial harassment”.

However, the club recently said it will not take disciplinary action against any player, employee or executive over the harassment.

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