D-day for Yorkshire as members decide whether to open the door to Colin Graves

Yorkshire members will vote later this morning on whether to accept a loan offer from former chairman Colin Graves which would pave the way for his controversial return to Headingley.

Last month the existing board of the debt-ridden club recommended members back a special resolution at Friday’s extraordinary general meeting which, if passed, could ultimately lead to Graves and three associates being appointed to the board and unlock up to GBP 5million in funding.

With time running out to keep the business viable, almost GBP 15million owed to the Graves family trust and a host of other potential investors no longer at the table, the board said it was recommending a loan offer from Graves “having exhausted all other options” in its search for refinancing.

Graves’ reinstatement would represent a divisive move considering the racism scandal which has engulfed Yorkshire in recent years, an episode which partially took place during his first stint in charge.

Earlier this month he apologised to anyone at Yorkshire who had experienced racism, and expressed “profound regret” at the language he had used in a Sky Sports interview last June when he said there had been “a lot of banter”.

Azeem Rafiq, who in 2020 blew the whistle on the racism he experienced at Yorkshire, said Graves’ apology was not something he could accept, adding: “It’s got to be further than just words.”

The special resolution will only pass on Friday if 66 per cent or more of members vote in favour. Sources have told the PA news agency there is a concerted mobilisation against Graves, but it remains to be seen whether that will be sufficient to block his return.

Even if the resolution does pass, his reinstatement will still be subject to the Financial Conduct Authority approving the rule changes contained within the special resolution.

Yorkshire members will gather at Headingley for an EGM this morning
Yorkshire members will gather at Headingley for an EGM this morning (Mike Egerton/PA)

Graves said in a statement on Thursday: “Yorkshire members will vote tomorrow at the EGM on whether to ratify the board’s decision to accept my offer to the club.

“If, as I very much hope in the best interests of YCCC they do so, we will have to await the regulatory approval of the offer from the Financial Conduct Authority before forming a new board.

“The immediate responsibilities of that new board will be to elect a new Chairman and then begin work to resolve the YCCC financial situation.

“In the meantime, I will not be making any further comment.”