Azeem Rafiq was victim of racial harassment and bullying in first spell as player, admits Yorkshire CCC

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Yorkshire County Cricket Club (Photo: Yorkshire CCC)
Yorkshire County Cricket Club (Photo: Yorkshire CCC)

Yorkshire [UK], September 10 (ANI): The Yorkshire County Cricket Club on Friday stated Azeem Rafiq, during his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment and bullying.

In September 2020, the Yorkshire Club received a number of allegations of racism made by former player Azeem Rafiq spanning back to 2008. The Club then launched a full investigation and also appointed an independent panel of experts chaired by Samir Pathak. The Panel's role was to oversee the integrity of the investigation, make their own findings and propose recommendations to the Club.

The report and recommendations were delivered to the board on August 13, 2021. Notably, Yorkshire CCC has still not released the full report, as the club in a statement said: "Although our clear legal advice is that the full report should not be made public, the Club has instructed counsel to assist it in producing a summary of the report and recommendations which is attached to this statement."

The report shows that there were in excess of 40 allegations made against the Club by Azeem Rafiq. The majority were not upheld, and some were not upheld on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. However, seven of Azeem Rafiq's allegations were upheld.

"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," the statement by Yorkshire CCC reads.

The report found Rafiq, whose first spell at Yorkshire was from 2008-14, was not provided with halal food at matches, something which 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 and during his second spell at Yorkshire between 2016 and 2018, there were jokes made around religion that made individuals uncomfortable about their religious practices, the report said.

During his second spell at the Club, a former player made references to Azeem Rafiq's weight and fitness that amounted to bullying and in August 2018, when Rafiq raised concerns of racism there was a failure by the Club to follow its own policy or investigate these allegations.

"I am confident the responsible way that the report has been received by the whole club, together with the clear and collective determination to enthusiastically embrace its recommendations, is an important moment in our journey to become more thoughtful, more inclusive, and to make sure that every aspect of the club fully lives up to the spirit of the great game of cricket," Hutton said. (ANI)

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