Yorkshire could learn next week if international hosting rights will be restored


Yorkshire could discover next week if their right to stage international matches at Headingley will be restored.

The county had lucrative matches scheduled for this summer removed from them by the England and Wales Cricket Board last November over their handling of an investigation into allegations of racial harassment and bullying by former player Azeem Rafiq.

Members of Yorkshire’s leadership team, including new chair Lord Kamlesh Patel, will make a presentation to the ECB next Tuesday, with club members voting on changes to the county’s board structure at an extraordinary general meeting the following day.

Lord Kamlesh Patel will make a presentation to the ECB on February 1
Lord Kamlesh Patel will make a presentation to the ECB on February 1 (Danny Lawson/PA)

ECB deputy chair Martin Darlow told a select committee hearing examining racism in cricket: “Once we’re through (the EGM), I anticipate the (ECB) board will be making a decision and considering their options soon after that.”

Lord Patel also revealed to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee that legal documents were being drawn up to remove Yorkshire board veto and observer powers held by the Colin Graves Trust.

Lord Patel’s predecessor, Roger Hutton, had told the committee in November that trustees had opposed his plans to remove chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon from the board over their response to the findings of the Rafiq report.

Committee chair Julian Knight told the PA news agency earlier this month he did not think Yorkshire’s right to host internationals should be restored until the role of the Trust was clarified and resolved.

In a statement at the start of Tuesday’s evidence session, Knight said former Yorkshire executive chairman Graves had declined two invitations to appear before the committee and said it was now time for him to “put up or shut up”.

Lord Patel said the Trust, which is a major creditor of the county, supported the proposed changes to its powers and that he had never felt it was a “roadblock” to any of the changes he has sought to make since his appointment.

Knight asked Darlow if the removal of the Trust’s powers was a prerequisite of restoring international cricket to Headingley.

“I understand the Trust has accepted the need to remove those powers,” Darlow replied.

“My view is that (Yorkshire) would be a better-run organisation if they didn’t have the vetoes in place.”

Lord Patel has initiated sweeping changes at Yorkshire since his appointment in November, with Darren Gough joining as interim managing director of cricket and Ottis Gibson confirmed as the new head coach last week.

Moxon and former first-team coach Andrew Gale were among 16 members of the county’s backroom staff who were dismissed last month.

Lord Patel told MPs the club felt “fundamentally different” from the one he walked into nine weeks ago, admitting he did not “feel comfortable” there on day one.

However, he accepted some staff at the club had been unfairly tainted by the mishandling of the Rafiq investigation.

“I was sad to hear a young man say he had to hide his badge when he leaves here,” Patel said.

“I’ve had members of staff who have been told in the street to take their shirt off because it’s racist. (But) the fact that we have come so far in such a short space of time does bode well in terms of moving forward.”