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Sky Sports broadcaster David Lloyd has apologised to Azeem Rafiq and the Asian cricket community for any offence caused during private messages he made last year.
Rafiq said Lloyd, commonly known as ‘Bumble’, tried to smear him in order to besmirch his allegations of racism.
“I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what’s happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing,” Rafiq told a DCMS committee.
“High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like ‘the club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there’, ‘getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone’.
“And then personally this guy doesn’t even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.
“That was David Lloyd, he’s been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that’s what I got sent to me. And I thought, ‘Gosh, there’s some closet racists and we need to do something about it’.”
In a statement on Twitter, Lloyd said: “In October 2020, I had a private message exchanged with a third party involved in cricket, about a number of topics.
“In these messages, I referred to allegations about Azeem Rafiq which I had heard from within the game. I also made some comments about the Asian cricket community.
“I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.”
Sky said in a statement on Tuesday evening: “Sky is committed to actively championing inclusion in cricket – and in all sports – and opposing all forms of discrimination. We will be investigating the comments attributed to David Lloyd in today’s select committee hearing.”