Yorkshire cricket racism: England and Wales Cricket Board charges club and a number of people over allegations

Yorkshire cricket club and a number of people have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the sport’s bosses over allegations of racism.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has chosen not to name the individuals.

The charges relate to breaches of its anti-discrimination code.

The board began an investigation last year after former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq accused his teammates and the management of racism.

The 31-year-old whistleblower gave harrowing testimony to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee about his experience at the club across two spells between 2008 and 2014 and 2016 to 2018.

He told MPs he felt “isolated, humiliated at times” due to the bombardment of racism he suffered and the “constant uses of the word p***’”.

Rafiq has welcomed the ECB’s announcement but said he would prefer the hearing to take place publicly.

“This has been another gruelling but unfortunately necessary process. It has been a long two years since I went public about my experiences, but I hope this all means that no young player ever goes through such pain and alienation again,” he added.

Rafiq’s allegations prompted wholesale changes at Headingley and forced the ECB to vow to take action and introduce a 12-point plan to tackle racism in the game.

In the wake of the allegations 16 members of staff were sacked.

Six members of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, including the former head coach, Andrew Gale, won an unfair dismissal claim against the club last Wednesday.

Rafiq’s testimony

In Rafiq’s testimony, former England internationals Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Alex Hales and Gary Ballance had all been subject to fresh claims of racial discrimination.

Ballance, who is still with Yorkshire but has not played yet this season, has apologised for using a racial slur towards Rafiq but Rafiq said in March that he had not received an apology directly from Ballance.

Hoggard has apologised to Rafiq, while Bresnan has apologised for bullying Rafiq but has categorically denied making racist comments.

Nottinghamshire batsman Alex Hales categorically denied after the DCMS hearing last November that there was any racial connotation to him naming his dog Kevin.

Read more:
Rafiq calls for ‘total clear-out’ of Yorkshire leadership
England Test captain vows to change cricket’s dressing room culture
Rafiq meets Holocaust survivor after antisemitic messages revealed

Rafiq alleged that Ballance used the word “Kevin” as a derogatory term towards people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Rafiq has also alleged that former England captain and ex-Yorkshire teammate Michael Vaughan had said to him and a group of players of Asian origin in 2009 that there were “too many of your lot” at Yorkshire and that “we need to do something about it”.

Vaughan has categorically denied making that comment.

Another former cricketer, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, corroborated Rafiq’s claim, as did current England player Adil Rashid.

A fourth player, Ajmal Shahzad, said he had no recollection of the comment Vaughan is alleged to have made.

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