Yorkshire charged by ECB following Azeem Rafiq cricket racism row
LONDON: Yorkshire and a “number of individuals” have been charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board following the governing body’s investigation into how the county dealt with racism allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq.
The ECB did not name any of the people involved in a statement issued on Wednesday.
The board said the charges arose from alleged breaches of the ECB’s anti-discrimination code as well as rules concerned with the conduct of players.
The ECB said an independent panel of the Cricket Discipline Commission would now hear the cases, most likely in September and October, adding that it was standard practice for the panel to publish its decisions and written reasons in full.
Pakistan-born former off-spinner Rafiq first raised allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to his two spells at Yorkshire.
It was not until a year later that the club finally released a statement saying the retired player had been the victim of “racial harassment and bullying”, upholding seven of his 43 allegations.
But the club subsequently confirmed nobody would be disciplined, a decision that was greeted with widespread incredulity.
Pressure mounted on Yorkshire, leading to a mass clear-out of senior boardroom figures and coaching staff at its Headingley headquarters.
Rafiq, who gave harrowing testimony to a committee of lawmakers about his treatment in November, said he hoped the hearings would take place quickly.
“I hope this all means that no young player ever goes through such pain and alienation again,” he said.
“My preference would be for this hearing to take place publicly, but I am hopeful that we are at least nearing a point where there will be some sense of closure for my family and me.”
Yorkshire said the club had received notification of the charges.
“For clarity, YCCC notes that the allegations relate to charges as far back as 2004 up until 2021 and the club will need the cooperation of those in position during this time in order to fully consider and respond to the matters raised,” the club said in a statement.
Earlier this month, former Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale won a claim for unfair dismissal, leaving the club facing the prospect of paying compensation.
The ECB had previously warned Yorkshire it was prepared to remove lucrative England international matches from Headingley unless the club made changes.
But those games, including next week’s third Test against New Zealand and a one-day international against South Africa in July, are set to go ahead as scheduled after a package of governance reforms was approved.