'Asian players were told to sit near toilets in dressing room, P*** was used constantly' - Azeem Rafiq tells DCMS committee

‘Asian players were told to sit near toilets in dressing room, P*** was used constantly’ – Azeem Rafiq tells DCMS committee

Rafiq further revealed how he was offered a sum by the club to not reveal whatever happened during his stint out in the public domain.

Azeem Rafiq
Azeem Rafiq. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq made shocking revelations during the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing on November 16, where he told the Member of British Parliament that Asian players at the Yorkshire club were asked to “sit over there near the toilets” during the submission of evidence on allegation of racism.

Yorkshire had concluded Rafiq was a victim of racial harassment and bullying during his time at the club, a treatment so horrible that Rafiq came close to taking his life, he told earlier. He broke down as he narrated the instances from his time at the club to the DCMS Committee, as he submitted about an “acceptance of racism” at the club.

“Pretty early on at the club, I joined a dressing room full of my heroes, Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, part of the 2005 Ashes team. And it was just the most surreal moment for me,” Rafiq said.

“Pretty early on, me and other people from an Asian background … there were comments such as ‘you’ll sit over there near the toilets’, ‘elephant washers’. The word ‘Pa**’ was used constantly. And there just seemed to be an acceptance in the institution from the leaders and no one ever stamped it out.”

“All I wanted to do is play cricket and play for England and live my dream and live my family’s dream. In my first spell, I don’t really think I quite realised what it was. I think I was in denial,” he added.

Rafiq admitted he started medication after his mental health deteriorated constantly owing to the treatment meted out to him, which made him feel “isolated” and “humiliated”.

“Towards the end of my first spell, but constantly throughout, I knew there was something wrong. I started taking medication for my mental health. It was really tough.”

“Jason left in 2016 and it just felt the temperature in the room had been turned up,” Rafiq said. “You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain. For the first time, I started to see what it was – I felt isolated, humiliated at times. Constant use of the word ‘Paki’.”

Rafiq further revealed how he was offered a sum by the club to not reveal whatever happened during his stint out in the public domain.

“When I left I had four or five months left on my contract. I was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement and take a sum of money. It would have been a lot of money for me and my wife who were struggling at the time. I left the country to go to Pakistan and didn’t want to come back.”

Yorkshire club has been in severe turmoil for the questionable handling of the matter, which has even led to the resignations of club chief Roger Hutton and CEO Mark Arthur.