Racism crisis: Cricket figures named by Azeem Rafiq in evidence session

County Cricket
Yorkshire

Former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq has rocked cricket with wide-ranging allegations of racism in the sport, delivering a damning testimony to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

The publication of his witness statement to a now-settled employment tribunal amplified and extended the claims, which now affect several high-profile names.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the accusations and what those involved have had to say.

Gary Ballance

Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance issued a statement earlier this month (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Rafiq says the former Yorkshire captain consistently used offensive terms such as “P***”, “Raffa the Kaffir” and made discriminatory jokes about corner shops, bearded Asian men and Sheikhs.

He also says Ballance used the name ‘Kevin’ to describe all people of colour in a derogatory manner.

Ballance issued a statement earlier this month admitting making a “racial slur” against Rafiq, but said he did so in the context of a long, deep friendship where both men said inappropriate things. He has not added to that since the hearing.

Alex Hales

Alex Hales
Alex Hales has denied there was any racial connotation in the naming of his dog (Mike Egerton/PA)

Following on from the ‘Kevin’ allegations, Rafiq said Ballance and Hales became “really close” on England duty and Hales went on to “name his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.”

Hales said: “I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog.”

Matthew Hoggard

Matthew Hoggard has contacted Rafiq
Matthew Hoggard has contacted Rafiq (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

The 2005 Ashes winner stands accused of inventing the “Raffa the Kaffir” nickname, as well as throwing around the words “P***” and “elephant washers”, while making Asian players sit together in the dressing room near the toilets.

Hoggard has not spoken publicly but Rafiq revealed he phoned him last summer to make a full apology.

Tim Bresnan

Tim Bresnan
Tim Bresnan is a former Yorkshire all-rounder (Jed Leicester/PA)

The former England all-rounder is said to have subjected Rafiq to bullying and racist comments.

Rafiq says he made a formal complaint against Bresnan in 2017 even though he suspected doing so would land him in “big trouble”.

He says Bresnan apologised at the time, but dismissed that as “lip service”.

Bresnan tweeted that he “apologised unreservedly” for any part he played in making his team-mate feel bullied, but added: “I must though categorically deny his accusation that I ‘frequently made racist comments’. This is absolutely not true.”

Jack Brooks

Jack Brooks now plays for Somerset
Jack Brooks now plays for Somerset (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Rafiq claims Brooks started a trend of calling India batter Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ rather than use his actual name, even though the overseas player had said he would rather it did not happen.

The seamer has admitted using the name in this context, apologising publicly as well as attempting to make contact with Pujara.

His current club Somerset have investigated historical tweets sent by Brooks in 2012 – with the player admitting he used “unacceptable” words.

Somerset have decided to “reprimand Jack, remind him of his responsibilities and require him to participate in extensive training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity”.

Michael Vaughan

Michael Vaughan was a player with Yorkshire
Michael Vaughan was a player with Yorkshire (Aaron Chown/PA)

One of English cricket’s biggest names, the celebrated ex-England captain revealed he was named in the Rafiq report before he had been publicly accused. In a Daily Telegraph column he strongly denied telling four team-mates of an Asian background: “There’s too many of your lot, we need to do something about it.” He has reiterated that denial following the committee hearing.

Both Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan have supported Rafiq’s recollection of the 2009 episode, but Ajmal Shahzad has said previously he does not recall any racist comments. Vaughan was stood down from his last Tuffers and Vaughan show on BBC Radio Five Live but there has been no further word from the corporation.

Joe Root

Joe Root has spent his career with Yorkshire
Joe Root has spent his career with Yorkshire (Nick Potts/PA)

The England Test captain went on the record to say he never witnessed anything of a racist nature at Yorkshire, while pledging to help in any way he could to change the county.

Rafiq said Root was a “good man who never engaged in racist language” but that he found Root’s recollections hurtful because he had “been involved in a lot of the socialising where I was called a ‘P**I’. It shows how normal it was that even a good man like him doesn’t see it for what it was.”

Andrew Gale

Andrew Gale
Andrew Gale (Adam Davy/PA)

The former White Rose captain and current first team head coach is accused of discrimination against and bullying of Rafiq over an extended period in both positions of power, as well as using the word “P***”. He is currently suspended by the club pending investigation of a historic tweet containing an anti-Semitic word which he says he removed after realising its meaning.

He has declined to make further comment but Rafiq says he needs to leave his post for Yorkshire to move forward.

Martyn Moxon

Martyn Moxon is Yorkshire's director of cricket
Martyn Moxon is Yorkshire’s director of cricket (Mike Egerton/PA)

A stalwart of the club for decades, the director of cricket is alleged by Rafiq to have “got me in a room and ripped the shreds off me” the day he returned to training after the stillbirth of his son. Rafiq says he witnessed racist behaviour while in charge but did nothing to stop it and was also guilty of discriminating against him.

He is currently signed off sick due to a stress-related illness. Like Gale, Rafiq believes he must go as part of Yorkshire’s renewal.

David Lloyd

Former player, coach and current broadcaster David Lloyd
Former player, coach and current broadcaster David Lloyd (Mike Egerton/PA)

The popular commentator, a former England batter and head coach, has admitted exchanging private messages disparaging Rafiq and also regrets discussing “the Asian cricket community”. He apologised on Twitter and also made a personal phone call, which Rafiq accepted. His employers, Sky Sports, say they are investigating the matter.

David Byas

Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
David Byas in action for Yorkshire (PA)

A decorated former Yorkshire captain, Byas left the club shortly before Rafiq made his debut. Nevertheless, his name appeared in a written submission to the employment tribunal, accused of using multiple racial slurs over the course of his career.

Now employed as director of sport at Pocklington School, he said: “I deny emphatically that I have used the phrases attributed to me.” The school has said it is gathering further information.

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