Yorkshire consider releasing Azeem Rafiq racism report by Wednesday: Cricket chiefs are pushing for full findings to be published in days ‘as two ex England stars hire lawyers over fears they are named’
- Yorkshire County Cricket Club are set to release the report in the coming days
- It was reported today that two ex-England internationals have hired legal teams in anticipation of the Yorkshire CCC’s findings
- It comes just days after former players Michael Vaughan and Gary Ballance were accused of levelling racial epithets towards club bowler Azeem Rafiq
- Rafiq, 30, made over 40 allegations of racial discrimination at Yorkshire CCC
Yorkshire County Cricket Club are expected to release a damning report into allegations of racial abuse at the club as early as Wednesday, with several England internationals fearing they could be implicated.
The Telegraph reported today that two other ex-England internationals, who declined to be named, have already hired legal teams in anticipation of the report’s findings.
It comes just days after former England and Yorkshire players Michael Vaughan and Gary Ballance were named this week as among those accused of racial discrimination by club bowler Azeem Rafiq.
Rafiq, 30, came out 15 months ago with more than 40 allegations of racial discrimination and bullying by his employer, seven of which have already been upheld by the club’s investigation.
Now, the cricket club’s interim chairman Lord Patel of Bradford is expected to address the media for the first time on Monday amid mounting pressure from the game to release Yorkshire CCC’s full report into racial abuse.
Gary Ballance has already admitted directing racial epithets towards Rafiq and expressed ‘deep regret’ at calling him a ‘P***’, which was characterised as ‘banter’ in the club’s report.
Vaughan has vehemently denied using racial slurs towards his teammate but has already been stood down from his weekly BBC Radio 5 live show while the saga continues.
Azeem Rafiq, 30, came out 15 months ago with more than 40 allegations of racial discrimination and bullying by his employer, seven of which have already been proven
Former England and Yorkshire players Gary Ballance (L) and Michael Vaughan (R) were named this week as among those accused of racial discrimination by club bowler Azeem Rafiq
Several advertisers have ripped up their contracts with Yorkshire CCC in the wake of the allegations. The club has already lost around £3million in sponsorship details, while the English Cricket Board suspended club ground Headingley (pictured) from hosting major matches
The allegations made by Rafiq have already proven disastrous for Yorkshire CCC, whose internal review concluded 10 days ago that ‘there is no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives that warrants disciplinary action’.
Several Government figures, including British-Pakistani Health Minister Sajid Javid, said heads should roll at the club with Javid stating the England Cricket Board (ECB) may not be ‘fit for purpose’ if swift action is not taken.
Meanwhile, several advertisers have ripped up their contracts with Yorkshire CCC, with around £3million in sponsorship lost and a threat of an estimated £3.5million from international ticket and hospitality sales to follow after the ECB temporarily suspended club ground Headingley from hosting major matches.
Those combined figures represent more than 50 per cent of Yorkshire’s projected income for the year.
More of the club’s dirty washing will be laundered in public on November 16 when Yorkshire officials have been called to attend the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing.
The hearing will see them face a barrage of questions from MPs, many of whom are seething about the case.
An anti-racism banner hangs on railings outside Headingley, the home of Yorkshire cricket on November 5, 2021
Several protestors took to the grounds outside Headingley yesterday to demonstrate their disapproval of Yorkshire CCC, including Mohammed Rafiq, Azeem’s father, who touted a ‘racism is not banter’ sign
A group of protestors gathered outside Yorkshire CCC’s ground yesterday to demonstrate their disapproval of the cricket club for their lack of accountability surrounding the racial abuse of Rafiq and other Asian players.
Mohammed Rafiq, 63, joined the protestors in support of his son despite clear ill-health, touting a sign which read ‘racism is not banter’.
Dr Abdul Sheikh, 43, gave an impassioned speech on the importance of the case for highlighting racism experienced by Asian people in the UK before slipping into the crowd.
‘Azeem Rafiq in my view is a hero. A brave warrior who faced severe adversity. He’s received threats from the far right, criticism from the community for making a stand but I’m immensely proud of him,’ said Sheikh.
‘If I’m not here, then what’s the point? It’d all be in vain for what Azeem has fought for, so it’s to show solidarity and support to him and his family.
‘I fought racism all my life: the P-word, etc. I had to speak in front of people to show racism is not casual banter. It has major effects on people’s life in the world of work. It can already be hard for ethnic minorities in this country, never mind if they face xenophobia and racism.’
Former Yorkshire Cricket Foundation employee Taj Butt, 63, also declared his support for Rafiq: ‘It just shows how strong the feeling in the community is that we are prepared to turn out and voice our anger at the club.
‘It’s been 15 months since Azeem made the complaint and the club have been looking to sweep it under the carpet.
‘You usually go to Headingley to watch county or international cricket, which brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people. But coming here having to demonstrate an injustice doesn’t seem right.’
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