ECB charge Yorkshire and ‘a number of individuals’ after investigation into Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

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 (PA)
(PA)

English cricket’s disciplinary body has charged Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” following an investigation into the racism scandal that has rocked the club over the last two years.

The charges are for breaching ECB Directive 3.3, which relates to “conduct which is improper or which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer into disrepute”.

They will be heard by the Cricket Discipline Commission, which sits at arm’s length to ECB, at a hearing this Autumn, likely in September or October.

In 2020, Azeem Rafiq, a former Yorkshire captain, gave interviews accusing the club of institutional racism.

That sparked an overhaul of personnel at the club, as well as a wider reckoning for cricket over inclusivity, and saw Rafiq, and leaders of Yorkshire and England cricket called before the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Select Committee. Rafiq gave a harrowing testimony.

The ECB have now concluded their investigation and charged the club and a series of former players, who they will not name until after the hearing.

A statement read: “The ECB’s investigation has been thorough and complex, with the allegations covering a significant period of time and a number of witnesses and other individuals coming forward to share their own experiences and allegations. The ECB is grateful to all those who have taken the time to speak with the investigating team.”

The Cricketer report that the seven individuals include four former England internationals, Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance (the only active player), as well as former players and coaches Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah. The last is reported to be John Blain, a former Scotland international.

Vaughan and Bresnan have previously issued strong denials over accusations made by Rafiq, while Hoggard has apologised to him and Ballance admitted to using racist language.

Gale and Pyrah are among a group of former coaches making a claim of wrongful dismissal against the club.

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