Azeem Rafiq reveals he is still being abused after Yorkshire racism comments

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Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq says he is still receiving abuse after highlighting the racism and bullying he endured at the county (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq says he is still receiving abuse after highlighting the racism and bullying he endured at the county (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

Azeem Rafiq has revealed he is still receiving abuse for speaking out about the racism and bullying he suffered over two spells at Yorkshire and said: “We wonder why people don’t come forward.”

Yorkshire’s handling of an investigation into his allegations has been heavily criticised within the sport and by politicians, with the club’s hierarchy having been called to appear before a parliamentary committee on November 16.

On Wednesday night Gary Ballance admitted he had used racial slurs towards Rafiq when they were team-mates at Yorkshire.

Ballance claimed in a lengthy statement he had once enjoyed a deep friendship with Rafiq but that both men “said things privately to each other which were not acceptable” and offered remorse for his part of those exchanges.

The independent panel which looked at 43 allegations in total from Rafiq determined those racial slurs from Ballance were delivered “in the spirit of friendly banter” and did not uphold that allegation – a conclusion which has caused a wave of condemnation from prominent politicians and campaign groups and kicked off an exodus of Yorkshire’s commercial partners.

Rafiq says despite the week’s events, criticism is still coming his way.

He tweeted on Thursday: “We wonder why people don’t come forward. Even after everything that is out there, there seems to be personal attacks coming. What a sad state of affairs.”

Rafiq will appear before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee later this month and wrote in an earlier tweet on Thursday: “I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals.

“This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change.”

Yorkshire has been criticised for its failure to release the report of its investigation into Rafiq’s allegations. In September it published a summary of the findings of the report.

While county chairman Roger Hutton said at that time there was “no question” Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying over the course of two spells at Yorkshire, the club announced last week that no individual would face disciplinary action as a consequence.

Yorkshire shirt sponsor Anchor Butter severed ties with the club over their handling of the matter and Emerald Group Publishing has withdrawn its naming rights of Headingley Stadium among other tie-ins with the team.

Yorkshire Tea has dissolved its association with immediate effect and Tetley’s Beer has confirmed it will back out at the end of its current deal.

Meanwhile, a prominent group of the county’s politicians – including former Labour leader Ed Miliband and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves – wrote to the England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison demanding “an immediate, comprehensive and independent inquiry into YCCC’s handling of the original allegations and the subsequent investigation”.

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