MP claims Yorkshire’s timing of Azeem Rafiq statement release left ‘a bad taste’
Yorkshire’s timing in releasing a statement accepting Azeem Rafiq had experienced racial harassment and bullying at the club “left a bad taste”, according to Shadow Digital Culture Media and Sport Secretary Jo Stevens.
Barely a quarter of an hour after England dramatically announced their fifth LV= Insurance Test against India at Emirates Old Trafford was off, Yorkshire conceded for the first time Rafiq had been the victim of racial abuse.
The club cited legal reasons for not releasing a full report, believed to be in excess of 100 pages compiled by an independent panel after a year-long investigation, but put out a summary of findings and recommendations on Friday.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain questioned whether Yorkshire had chosen a “good day to hide bad news” and although it is understood the county had been preparing to put out a statement prior to the international news breaking, Stevens was another to take a dim view of the situation.
“The timing of the statement left a bad taste coming as the cricketing world was focused on the unprecedented cancellation of England’s Test match with India,” the Labour MP said in a statement to the PA news agency.
Roger Hutton, the Yorkshire chair, offered “sincere, profound and unreserved apologies” to Rafiq and his family in the club’s statement, with seven of the 43 allegations made by the former off-spinner upheld.
While the rest were not upheld, some of those were because of a lack of evidence, including the central claim of institutional racism. Following Yorkshire’s release, Rafiq, who who represented the club from 2008 to 2014 then 2016 to 2018, labelled his former employers’ handling of the process “atrocious”.
DCMS chair Julian Knight accused the county of a “lack of genuine contrition” and demanded to know “what action will be taken” after the panel concluded there were three separate instances where former players used racist language before 2010 and an ex-coach “regularly used racist language” before 2012.
The panel also accepted that there was a failure by the club in August 2018 to follow up on allegations Rafiq made at that time. An enquiry was commissioned by Yorkshire last September, a month after the former England Under-19 captain said that institutional racism during his time at the club left him feeling suicidal.
The panel made a swathe of recommendations, including on policies, training, culture and recruitment, and Stevens is eager to find out how they will be implemented to avoid anyone else suffering the same mistreatment.
“It is absolutely right that Yorkshire has apologised unreservedly to Azeem Rafiq after he suffered racial harassment and bullying at the club,” Stevens added.
“It is also very concerning that the inquiry found that the club did not properly follow their own internal procedures following the initial allegations in 2018.
“Absent from their statement is any commitment as to when the recommendations of the investigation panel will be implemented. Yorkshire need to now demonstrate through actions as well as words that no employee of the club, player or otherwise, will be subjected to any form of discrimination in the future.”
Jimmy Neesham signs up for Vitality Blast stint with Northants
Jimmy Neesham will join the Steelbacks for the 2022 Vitality Blast.
Joe Root has been named ICC men’s Test player of the year for 2021
The England captain made the third-highest run total ever in a single year.
Brendan Taylor reveals harrowing details of trauma, addiction and corrupt approach
Brendan Taylor says the ICC will shortly announce his multi-year ban for failing to report what he says was a traumatising corrupt approach.
International Cricket Council
ICC Awards: All the winners announced so far for 2021
All the winners honoured by the ICC for 2021.
India lost their way in the middle overs says coach Rahul Dravid
India’s missing middle is a problem.
England in the Caribbean: Moeen Ali admits West Indies batting depth ‘scary’
The five-match series is now all square with one win apiece.
Sam Billings keen to kick on with England: ‘I’ve spent enough time on the bench’
Billings made his Test debut in Hobart before jetting off to Barbados to link-up with the T20 squad.
International Cricket Council
Emerging cricketers of the year: Janneman Malan and Fatima Sana
ICC celebrates emerging talents.
England hold off West Indies fightback to level T20 series in Barbados
Romario Shepherd and Akeal Hosein put on an unbroken 72-run stand as the hosts lost by just one run.
T20 cricket: England find some form with bat to set West Indies target of 172
Eoin Morgan’s men were dismissed for 103 on Saturday but recovered to score 171 for eight.