Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton resigns in wake of racism scandal

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton resigns in wake of racism scandal
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Chairman Roger Hutton today became the first senior figure to resign as the crisis over institutional racism at Yorkshire sent English cricket into a tailspin.

A report into racism at the county was commissioned by Yorkshire after allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq. The report found Rafiq to have been victim of “racial harassment and bullying” but the club’s revelation last week that no individual would be sanctioned sparked outcry that became a crisis at the club.

Last night Yorkshire were stripped of the right to host international matches indefinitely by the ECB, who are investigating their handling of the matter. Gary Ballance, the former England batter who admitted to using racial slurs to his “closest friend in cricket” Rafiq, is also being investigated.

In addition, the majority of Yorkshire’s commercial partners — including Emerald, Nike and Yorkshire Tea — have turned their back on the county, meaning they face a financial black hole.

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, revealed last night that he was accused of racism by Rafiq and named in Yorkshire’s report. Vaughan is accused, in 2009, of saying to Rafiq and other Asian players at the club: “There’s too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”

Vaughan fiercely denied the allegation, but Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, the former Pakistan seamer, confirmed to ESPNcricinfo this morning that he heard Vaughan utter the words and would give evidence to any inquiry as required.

Hutton this morning resigned his post, taking a parting shot at the club’s leadership and the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge,” read a statement from Hutton, who joined Yorkshire in April 2020.

“There has been a constant unwillingness from the Executive members of the Board and senior management at the club to apologise and to accept racism and to look forward. I want to be clear that when I was made aware of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations, I immediately reached out to the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry.

“I was saddened when they declined to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance for the game as a whole. It is a matter of record that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB’s reluctance to act.”

Hutton’s wrath appears to be aimed at chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon, who are both under huge pressure for their jobs. All three, as well as Rafiq, will appear before the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Select Committee on November 16.

Colin Graves, the former chair of Yorkshire and the ECB who has provided much financial support to the club, has been linked with the position vacated by Hutton, but his return would reunite the leadership from the time of the allegations. Another option is Lord Kamlesh Patel, of Bradford, a former ECB Board Member.

Yorkshire this morning issued a statement confirming their Board would belatedly meet this afternoon, at which point they would issue another statement.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said he disagreed entirely with the accusations made by Hutton about the governing body, saying they could not get involved in Yorkshire’s investigation.

Harrison said he had not read Yorkshire’s report yet because it is “not appropriate” and his “views are not important at this point”. Harrison added: “The fact is, we play multiple different roles — we are the national governing body, we are the regulator, we are judge, jury and executioner”.

Harrison said Yorkshire’s handling of the allegations were “leading the game into serious disrepute”, resulting in the “unprecedented sanctions” handed down last night.

Harrison described this as “an incredibly important moment for the game” as it showed it was a game for all, adding that “it’s particularly frustrating and very sad”. He said: “I don’t expect the next few months to be comfortable.

“There are going to be a lot of people from different backgrounds and cultures that have looked at what’s been happening and feel very uncomfortable about whether they want their children involved in cricket if the kind of responses that we’ve seen this week are what we can expect from Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“So we have had to step in in the most direct way and take unprecedented action in defending the values of the sport and reassuring families.”

Harrison expects “a very serious financial crisis that will now take place at Yorkshire”.

He added: “We will soon work to try and pick things up and ensure that what will be an immediate financial crisis at Yorkshire does not turn into something much more serious and the next existential threat to the club.”

Read More

Azeem Rafiq says cricket needs a ‘cultural change’ after Gary Ballance admits using racial slur

Azeem Rafiq to give evidence to DCMS select committee over allegations of racism at Yorkshire

Azeem Rafiq: Former England captain Michael Vaughan opens up on racism allegations, denies wrongdoing

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting