Azeem Rafiq slams Yorkshire Country Cricket racism investigation process as ‘atrocious’

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Rafiq at Headingley in 2017 (Getty Images)
Rafiq at Headingley in 2017 (Getty Images)

The former Yorkshire County Cricket Club player Azeem Rafiq has denounced the process of an investigation into more than 40 allegations of racism he made against the Club as “atrocious.”

Yorkshire released a statement earlier this morning acknowledging that Rafiq had been “a victim of racial harassment and bullying” during his two spells with the Club, after an investigation by an independent panel.

The statement also accepted that Yorkshire failed to properly investigate the spin bowler’s claims when he first raised them in 2018, 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. “

Roger Hutton, chairman of Yorkshire, offered the club’s “profound and unreserved apologies” to Rafiq and his family after seven of the 43 allegations he first made in September 2020 were upheld by the panel.

“There is no question that Azeem Rafiq, during his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment,” Hutton said in a statement. “He was also subsequently the victim of bullying.”

The report found, though, that there was “insufficient evidence to conclude that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is institutionally racist.”

In response to Yorkshire's statement, a spokesperson for Rafiq strongly criticised the way the process has been handled, and revealed that he had only been provided with a copy of the report only minutes before the press.

The statement reads: "We note that Yorkshire County Cricket Club has confirmed Azeem was the victim of racism and bullying during his two spells at Headingley.

"However, we must highlight the atrocious way this process continues to be handled. Azeem was not given any notice of this morning's statement - he received a copy only a couple of minutes before the media.

"Azeem and his team are not in a position to properly understand the club's conclusions and how they reached them, because Yorkshire has not provided a copy of the report. This is clearly unacceptable and an abuse of process.

The spokesperson also made clear that Rafiq disagrees with the panel’s conclusion that there is not enough evidence to label the Club itself as institutionally racist, adding: "What is clear is that Yorkshire County Cricket Club admits racism and bullying has taken place on many occasions, yet won't accept the obvious - that this is an institutional problem."

The spokesperson added that Rafiq and his team will “provide a fuller statement in the coming days.”

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