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After cricket’s trailblazing whistleblower Azeem Rafiq said an unnamed former Middlesex player had contacted him about his experiences of racism in the game, the county have called for the individual to come forward.
Rafiq, the former Yorkshire spinner who captained England at Under-19 level, spoke on Tuesday with calm and clarity on his harrowing experience in the game.
As he spoke before MPs at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s select committee hearing into institutional racism in cricket, he had parliamentary privilege, granting legal immunity.
Towards the end of his testimony – which lasted 90 minutes, including a short pause after he broke down in tears – he said that, since going public with his experience in the game more than a year ago, players from Middlesex, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire had contacted him to say they had also been victims of racism.
Middlesex called on the player to come forward.
A club statement read: “With this allegation coming to light this morning [Tuesday], we would urge the player in question to contact the Club immediately, directly to CEO Andrew Cornish, to enable us to handle this matter in the strictest confidence, with the utmost speed, and as a matter of the highest urgency. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated at Middlesex, and this matter will be fully investigated.
“Middlesex Cricket wants anyone who feels they have been discriminated against to know that they should feel comfortable when speaking about and sharing their experiences, safe in the knowledge that their complaint will be listened to, handled in the most sensitive manner, and dealt with.”
The issue has already spread far beyond Yorkshire.
Last week, Essex chairman John Faragher resigned after being accused of using racist language in a meeting (he denies the charge), while Maurice Chambers, who is 34, alleges that he was the victim of racism at both Wessex and Northamptonshire.
The impact on Yorkshire has been seismic, with chairman Roger Hutton (who also appeared the hearing) and chief executive Mark Arthur resigning, and director of cricket Martyn Moxon and head coach Andrew Gale implicated in Rafiq’s testimony.
Both are currently off work, Moxon with a stress-related illness and Gale pending an investigation.
The club has lost many major sponsors and the right to host England at Headingley while the ECB – whose own practices are under fire – investigate their conduct.