Yorkshire ‘can never forget’ racism scandal but must look forward – Lord Patel
Yorkshire chair Lord Patel is keen to look to the future but insisted the turmoil the club has been through will never be forgotten.
Patel has overseen major reforms after being parachuted into his role following Azeem Rafiq’s shocking claims of racial harassment and bullying in his time at the county.
Last month Yorkshire announced a partnership with India-based global streaming platform Clean Slate Studioz, and on Sunday the company’s branding was unveiled on the East Stand and Pavilion by West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin.
The Clean Slate deal also includes a commitment to women and girls’ cricket in the area, with the company sponsoring the Northern Diamonds and supplying 50 free kit bags to help underprivileged girls play the sport.
Patel told the PA news agency: “It’s far more than just a sponsorship deal, it’s the beginning of a long journey, a partnership with an organisation that believes in the journey we’re going on.
“We want to tackle discrimination and inequality when it happens, and remember that 51 per cent of the population are women and girls, and actually put that at the centre of everything we’re doing.
“We’re absolutely gobsmacked at what they’ve done and want to do with us and how they want to develop it across the world.
“From day one, even when I was at the ECB, growing the women and girls’ game was really important to me. Obviously I’ve had a few other things to sort out.”
Several sponsors cut ties with Yorkshire following the initial handling of Rafiq’s allegations and they were temporarily stripped of staging England games at Headingley, although that has since been restored.
Patel is encouraged by the progress that has been made, saying: “It’s a massive journey to go on. But by the end of the month we’ll be announcing six phenomenal new executive directors.
“We’ve got a fantastic multi-ethnic coaching team. It wasn’t picked, it was done on merit. We’ve had a very successful start to the season.
“We’ve taken people on a journey, it’s been a rocky journey but I’m so pleased to be here. We’re getting there but we know there is a long, long way to go.
“A lot of my professional career has been about inequality and tackling social injustice. A lot of my career has been about regulation and good governance, and one thing I do is I do look back, but I look back for lessons and mistakes I’ve made to inform the future.
“It is time to move forward and positively go forward but you can never forget what’s happened because if you forget, you make mistakes again.”
Plans are also afoot for a partnership between the Clean Slate Foundation and the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, with the aim of building a community enterprise called Clean House to invest in the community through film, arts, sports and education.
Clean Slate founder Karnesh Ssharma feels the values of the two organisations are aligned despite Yorkshire’s recent past, saying: “I think for us it was not important what had happened. What was important was the leadership of Lord Patel and what Yorkshire Cricket Club was trying to do.
“They accepted there has been a problem, they put reforms out there and they are going all out to make sure the future’s bright. We as a company believe in it. We are Clean Slate, every time we start fresh.
“We stand for equality, we stand for equal participation of everyone irrespective of gender, so I think these are the values which we associated with Yorkshire Cricket Club and Lord Patel’s leadership.”
On this day in 2010: England beat Australia for Twenty20 World Cup final glory
The Australians had been restricted to just 147 for six from their 20 overs.
James Anderson removes Joe Root for just four but Yorkshire thwart Lancashire
Harry Brook came to Yorkshire’s rescue to secure a Roses draw.
Andrew Symonds – the Queensland larrikin known as Roy with explosive batting
The former Australia all-rounder was killed in a car crash at the age of 46.
Tributes to an ‘extraordinary player and even better human being’ Andrew Symonds
Symonds died aged 46
Former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds dies in Queensland car crash
The 46-year-old played over 200 times for Australia across all formats.
Cricket world reacts to tragic death of ex-Australia player Andrew Symonds
The ‘cult figure’ of the sport was killed in a car-crash on Saturday night.
Former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds dies in car crash aged 46
Symonds played 26 Tests and 212 limited-overs internationals for his country.
Joe Root century checks Lancashire’s victory bid in Roses clash
Jack Leach took an eight-wicket match haul as Somerset claimed victory over neighbours Gloucestershire.
Surrey rewrite record books while Lancashire and Northamptonshire take control
Surrey equalled the first-class record for the number of players making half-centuries without passing three figures.
Brendon McCullum took England job for challenge of improving ‘rock bottom’ team
The ex-New Zealand skipper should, pending visa approvals, arrive in the UK in time to lead a three-Test series against his home country next month.