Headingley suspended from hosting internationals over Yorkshire – Rafiq debacle

County Cricket
Headingley

Yorkshire have been suspended from hosting international and major matches as the England and Wales Cricket Board criticised the club’s “wholly unacceptable” handling of Azeem Rafiq’s racism claims.

On the day more sponsors deserted the beleaguered club, the ECB board convened to discuss what has fast become an escalating crisis and admitted the “abhorrent” matter is “causing serious damage” to the reputation of the game.

An ECB statement read: “As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game.

Headingley suspended from hosting internationals

The statement continued: “It also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.

“In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and first-class county.”

The ECB Board agreed:

  • The ECB will therefore hold YCCC to account in relation to their handling of the matter. Given recent events, it is clear there are serious questions regarding the governance and management of YCCC. The club’s failure in relation to actions and responses to their own report represent a significant breach of its obligations to the game.
  • As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB Board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game. It also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.
  • In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County.
  • The ECB Board has asked the ECB Executive to commission a review of Yorkshire CCC’s governance to consider whether the existing arrangements are fit for purpose.
  • That the regulatory processes already underway into the allegations brought by Azeem Rafiq will ultimately be determined by an independent tribunal (The Cricket Disciplinary Commission).
  • Before any regulatory investigation is complete, the Board wishes to take immediate action in relation to Gary Ballance. While Mr Ballance has not been selected to play for England since 2017, he will be suspended indefinitely from selection. This position will be reviewed following the ECB regulatory investigation into his conduct.

The Board reiterated its unwavering commitment to ensuring that cricket is a game for everyone. Discrimination of any kind on the field of play, in the dressing room, in the stands, or in the boardroom is intolerable in sport or indeed, society. Cricket must work together to eradicate it.

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