Yorkshire admit former player Azeem Rafiq was victim of racial harassment and bullying

Yorkshire admit former player Azeem Rafiq was victim of racial harassment and bullying

Yorkshire County Cricket Club confirmed that Rafiq had levelled 43 allegation, of which only seven have been upheld.

Azeem Rafiq
Azeem Rafiq. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

County cricket team Yorkshire has duly acknowledged that Azeem Rafiq was the victim of racial harassment and bullying during his stint at the club. A former England Under-19 captain and the youngest captain ever to lead Yorkshire in a T20 match, Rafiq had levelled serious allegations against the club in September last year, when he revealed that he was close to committing suicide.

Notably,  England skipper Joe Root also came forward, as he expressed about the need for the sport to be made more inclusive. Later, the club issued an apology to Rafiq, admitting that has indeed a victim of inappropriate behavior.

In a recent statement from county chair Roger Hutton said: “There is no question that Azeem Rafiq, during his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment. He was also subsequently the victim of bullying. On behalf of all at YCCC, I wish to extend my sincere, profound and unreserved apologies to Azeem and to his family.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club confirmed that Rafiq had levelled 43 allegation, of which only seven have been upheld. Those being:

  • When Azeem Rafiq was playing junior cricket for Yorkshire, he was not provided with halal food at matches. This has now been rectified.
  • Prior to 2010 the Panel found that there were three separate incidents of racist language being used by former players which were found to be harassment on the grounds of race.
  • Before 2012 a former coach regularly used racist language.
  • During his second spell at Yorkshire between 2016 and 2018 there were jokes made around religion which made individuals uncomfortable about their religious practices.
  • During his second spell at the Club, a former player made references to Azeem Rafiq’s weight and fitness that amounted to bullying.
  • In August 2018, when Azeem Rafiq raised concerns of racism there was a failure by the Club to follow its own policy or investigate these allegations.
  • Finally, that on a number of occasions prior to 2018 the Club could have done more to make Muslims more welcome within their stadiums and should have dealt better with complaints of racist or anti-social behaviour within those stadiums.

A majority of Rafiq’s allegations were not upheld due to “insufficient evidence”, the same ground on which Roger Hutton, club’s chairman denied the YCCC to be institutionally racist.

“In being honest and direct about the clear failings at the club that were highlighted in the report, we must also be honest and direct about what the report did not say. It determined that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is institutionally racist,” Hutton said.

“Looking to the future, the club will now enthusiastically implement the panel’s recommendations and will look to work with a broader group from diverse communities to further develop and improve our inclusivity, accessibility and sensitivity to the pulse of modern Britain,” Hutton added. “We also commit to giving regular updates on our plans and our progress. We should be judged on this over the coming months and will report on our progress at our Annual General Meeting in the spring.”

Meanwhile, speaking to Sky Sports, Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, said: “I understand we are in receipt of a summary of that report. What’s super clear though is that Azeem Rafiq deserves a sincere apology from the ECB for what happened to him when he was playing as a professional cricketer.”