ECB denies Hoggard claims he was not invited to take part in Rafiq racism probe

The England and Wales Cricket Board has denied claims by Matthew Hoggard that he was not invited to take part in the investigation into allegations of racism by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

The independent Cricket Discipline Commission panel hearing into the allegations got under way in London on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Rafiq first went public in 2020 to allege he had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying across two spells at Yorkshire.

Yorkshire CCC CDC Panel Hearing – International Arbitration Centre
Azeem Rafiq (centre) arriving for the CDC hearing in London on Wednesday morning (James Manning/PA)

Disrepute charges against seven individuals with prior connections to the county were issued by the ECB last June, with the club also charged.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan is the only one of those charged who is set to appear at the hearing and his solicitors were present. It was confirmed that the case against Vaughan will begin on Thursday.

One of the individuals – Gary Ballance – has already admitted a charge related to the use of racially discriminatory language.

The remaining five – Hoggard, John Blain, Tim Bresnan, Andrew Gale, and Richard Pyrah – have said they will not attend. The ECB has previously said the charges against those individuals will be considered by the panel in their absence.

Cricket – Frizzell County Championship – Division Two – Yorkshire v Lancashire – Headingley
Matthew Hoggard claimed he was not invited to take part in the investigation (Gareth Copley/PA)

Yorkshire have admitted four charges and will also not participate in the hearing.

The ECB’s lawyer Jane Mulcahy KC said the non-attendees had “denied themselves the opportunity to challenge Rafiq’s allegations”.

Mulcahy set out the allegations against Hoggard, which included creating and using the term “Rafa the Kaffir”, repeated use of the word “P***”, referring to Rafiq and other players as “you lot” and use of the term “TBM” (token black man) towards Ismail Dawood.

Hoggard, via a statement after he refused to continue to engage in the disciplinary process, admitted using the term “Rafa the Kaffir”, however denied he created it and it was used in the context alleged. He admitted it did breach ECB directive 3.3.

Hoggard admitted the use of the word “P***” but denied any racist or discriminatory intent and could not remember exactly on what occasions this occurred. He also denied it breached the ECB directive.

Michael Vaughan file photo
The case against Michael Vaughan will begin on Thursday (Mike Egerton/PA)

While Hoggard also admitted using the phrase “you lot”, he denied the use of it to identify a group of ethnic minority players and denied it breached the directive.

Hoggard did admit to using the phrase “TBM” or “token black man” and that it breached the directive but denied it had any racist or discriminatory intent.

Mulcahy disputed claims by Hoggard that he was never invited to take part in the Squire Patton Boggs investigation and said, due to him declining to participate in this investigation, the weight of his evidence and that of his witnesses is “significantly reduced”.

Mulcahy also revealed that February 9 was the date when the ECB notified Hoggard of the allegations and revealed, while he disputed the ECB’s jurisdiction over him, he did not provide “a substantive response” to the allegations.

The ECB also rejected claims by Hoggard that it would not hand over evidence and stated “hundreds of documents” had been provided to the respondents in this process.

Mulcahy told the panel that it “should find Matthew Hoggard committed the conduct alleged” and “it is obvious that Matthew Hoggard has caused prejudice and/or disrepute for cricket and himself”.