Timeline of Azeem Rafiq allegations as Yorkshire cricket scandal hearing begins
More than two and a half years since first making allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Azeem Rafiq will give evidence at a long-awaited hearing in London.
A panel will hear disciplinary proceedings in relation to seven individuals and Yorkshire after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) brought charges against each for bringing the game into disrepute.
Rafiq, who has previously described English cricket as “institutionally racist”, will appear in person at the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) hearing.
The hearing begun on Wednesday 1 March and will run until 9 March in London.
Here’s everything you need to know, and a timeline of the allegations:
Who has been charged?
The CDC panel will hear disciplinary proceedings against Yorkshire and seven individuals with connections to the county - all have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute. The seven are: Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale, Richard Pyrah and Gary Ballance.
Who will appear?
Former England captain Vaughan is due to be the only individual charged who appears in person at the hearing. Hoggard, Bresnan, Blain, Gale and Pyrah have all withdrawn from proceedings. Ex-Yorkshire and England seamer Hoggard cited his belief of a broken process that had “failed everyone” when confirming his withdrawal. Their cases will be heard in absentia.
Ballance, meanwhile, has admitted liability and thus will not participate. Yorkshire have also elected not to attend after pleading guilty to four ECB charges.
England spinner Adil Rashid is expected to give evidence via video link from Bangladesh, where he is currently engaged in a One Day International series.
Who is on the panel?
The three-person panel is comprised of former Derbyshire player Tim O’Gorman (chair), Mark Milliken-Smith KC and Dr Seema Patel.
Can it be watched?
In an unprecedented move, the CDC hearing will be held in public, at Rafiq’s request. This does not, however, mean that it can be watched - the ECB will provide a live stream to accredited journalists in a separate room at the CDC’s London chambers.
What sanctions can the CDC impose?
The ECB acts as prosecutor and does not determine sanctions or liability. A CDC disciplinary panel may impose any one or more of the sanctions expressly prescribed in the CDC Regulations. As regards individuals, these include but are not limited to:
Caution as to future conduct;
Suspension of eligibility to play in any match(es) or for any fixed period;
Suspension of eligibility for selection to play for England in any match(es) or for any fixed period
Suspension (for any period) or termination of registration; and
Completion of any education/training programme/course
For a club, potential sanctions also include suspension from ECB competition(s), points deductions or alteration of match results.
TIMELINE OF AZEEM RAFIQ ALLEGATIONS
August and September 2020: Azeem Rafiq first makes public allegations of racial abuse during his time at Yorkshire. The former all-rounder makes a claim of historical racism at Headingley on The Cricket Badger podcast, also speaking to Wisden and ESPN Cricinfo. In an interview with ESPN, Rafiq says that “deep-rooted” racism at the county had left him “close to committing suicide”.
December 2020: Rafiq submits a legal claim against Yorkshire under the Equality Act, claiming he suffered “direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club”.
June 2021: A report is delayed as Rafiq and Yorkshire fail to reach resolution via judicial mediation. The case remains wiht the employment tribunal process.
August 2021: Yorkshire CCC apologises to Rafiq for being the victim of “inappropriate behaviour”, but say they do not accept his claim of institutional racism.
September 2021: A summarised version of findings is released: seven of Rafiq’s 43 allegations are upheld, with Yorkshire admitting that he had been the victim of “racial harassment” and “bullying” while with the county. The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) demands “action” and accuses Yorkshire of showing a “lack of genuine contrition”.
November 2021: Headingley is suspended as an international venue by the ECB - a suspension lifted in February 2022. There are a number of resignations from Yorkshire, including chief executive Mark Arthur and Mark Hutton, chair. Rafiq subsequently gives extended evidence to a DCMS hearing, alleging racism in the England dressing room.
December 2021: Hutton’s replacement, Lord Kamlesh Patel, sacks 16 members of the county’s coaching and backroom staff, including Gale and Pyrah. Both would agree to compensation after claiming unfair dismissal.
June 2022: Yorkshire and seven individuals are charged by the ECB in relation to Rafiq’s allegations.
October 2022: Rafiq is reprimanded over historical social media posts of a racist nature. Gale is also among those reprimanded - both admit making the posts.
December 2022: Rafiq alleges he had been “driven out” of Yorkshire and forced to move overseas by continued abuse directed both towards him and his family. He accuses the ECB of failing to support him.
January and February 2023: A hearing date of 1-9 March is set, with CDC proceedings to be held in public for the first time. Most of those charged withdraw from the process, with Pyrah writing that Rafiq’s allegations had been “badly handled” and “not appropriately challenged”. Yorkshire subsequently admit that documents related to the case were deleted under a previous regime.
March 2023: CDC hearing begins in London on 1 March.