Colin Graves looks set to return as Yorkshire chairman following vote at EGM

Colin Graves’ controversial return as Yorkshire chairman is virtually complete after members voted to accept the terms of his loan offer.

Graves, who served as Yorkshire’s chairman between 2012 and 2015 having first helped to save the club from financial ruin in 2002, has been given the green light to reprise his old role as members approved a special resolution at a heated extraordinary general meeting on Friday.

Three associates of Graves – Phillip Hodson, Sanjay Patel and Sanjeev Gandhi – are also set be appointed to the board as non-executive directors following the passing of the resolution.

Colin Graves first served as Yorkshire chair between 2012 and 2015
Colin Graves first served as Yorkshire chair between 2012 and 2015 (Mike Egerton/PA)

The resolution passed with 746 votes in favour, 88 per cent of the votes cast.

The vote is subject to regulatory approval by the Financial Conduct Authority in the next 12 to 14 days, but once fully ratified the second tranche of a personal, unsecured loan of GBP 1million from Graves will be advanced to the club. Members have been told the new non-executive directors will then work with the board to arrange further funding of up to GBP 4m over a five-month period.

With almost GBP 15m owed to the Graves family trust and a host of other potential investors no longer at the table, the board said last month it was recommending a loan offer from Graves “having exhausted all other options” in its search for refinancing to avoid entering administration.

Graves’ return is controversial given that the racism scandal which has engulfed the club partially took place during his first stint in charge.

Last month he apologised to anyone who experienced racism at Yorkshire, and expressed “profound regret” at the language he used in an interview with Sky Sports last summer when he said no one had reported racism to him but that there had been “a lot of banter”.

Azeem Rafiq, who in 2020 spoke out about the racism he experienced across two spells at Yorkshire, says he does not accept Graves’ apology.

Current chair Harry Chathli told members on Friday: “We as directors would not be discharging our duty of care if we deliberately put this club into administration just because we didn’t like a personality. That cannot happen.”

Chief executive Stephen Vaughan said: “We have kissed a lot of frogs and been to lots of beauty parades, and we are at a place now where the deal that Colin and his team are bringing to the table is the only one that will keep the business solvent going forward.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board warned last month it was “vital” the work done to tackle discrimination at Yorkshire continued, and that it had “significant powers which can be used to hold Yorkshire to account” if that was not found to be the case.