Yorkshire sued by ‘sacked’ official over ‘false’ prostitute allegations

Cricket physiotherapist Wayne Morton - Yorkshire face £550k High Court damages claim over ‘false’ prostitute allegations - Stephen Laffer
Cricket physiotherapist Wayne Morton - Yorkshire face £550k High Court damages claim over ‘false’ prostitute allegations - Stephen Laffer

Yorkshire's former medical chief who was ‘sacked’ after raising concerns about the county's handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal is suing the club amid explosive allegations he engaged in “illegal” sexual activity with a prostitute.

Wayne Morton, Yorkshire’s former head of sports science and medicine, is seeking more than £500,000 in damages at the High Court for breach of contract following his termination in December 2021 during Lord Patel’s brutal purge of the club’s coaching and medical staff.

The accusations, branded “false”, “untrue”, “baseless” and “wrong” in documents filed by Morton’s lawyers, expose the extraordinary lengths to which the Patel-chaired Yorkshire were apparently prepared to go to see through a mass cull that could end up costing them almost £2 million in damages.

Those documents include a “notice to terminate for breach of contract” letter dated Dec 2 and sent to former England physiotherapist Morton by the club’s acting chief executive, Paul Hudson, in which he listed allegations he claimed had come to light following “recent investigations”.

The staggering list of accusations, all strenuously denied by Morton, which Hudson even said was “not exhaustive”, included claims that:

  • Morton “engaged in unprotected sexual activity and intercourse with a prostitute who then also engaged in sexual activity with at least one other senior member of staff at the club”

  • Those involved “braggartly boasted about their misbehaviours to members of the club’s staff”, despite their conduct being “illegal”

  • Morton had a “sexual relationship with a senior employee at the club which was at odds with his professional position as an independent key medical supplier to the club”

  • He “failed to report” a complaint an unnamed former Yorkshire player exposed himself to a female masseuse

  • He and his Pavilion Physiotherapy Clinic failed to cater for the “medical needs” of Azeem Rafiq, the chief whistle-blower in the club’s racism scandal, and accused the former spinner of “faking injuries”

  • He “promoted” bowling coach Richard Pyrah and others when he had no authority to do so

  • He “personally orchestrated” the now-infamous letter sent to the Yorkshire board complaining of Rafiq’s “one-man mission to bring down the club”, the contents of which were later leaked to Telegraph Sport

Hudson wrote: “These breaches are serious, have undermined the relationship of trust and confidence between Pavilion and the club, and are not capable of remediation. Pavilion is therefore in repudiatory breach of contract. The club is continuing its investigation and will be considering whether it is appropriate to report matters to the regulator in respect of fitness to practise.”

Morton’s High Court claim for breach of contract, in which he is seeking damages totalling £559,776.66 plus interest, denies all the accusations against him.

Wayne Morton treats Alec Stewart during England's tour of the West Indies in 1998 - Popperfoto
Wayne Morton treats Alec Stewart during England's tour of the West Indies in 1998 - Popperfoto

On allegations he failed to report a complaint of indecent exposure, the claim accused Hudson of getting his dates wrong and stated the matter had been raised in writing with Colin Graves, then Yorkshire’s interim chief executive.

On having “promoted” Pyrah and others, the claim stated Hudson himself had sought Morton’s assistance in appointing the club’s bowling coach as interim head coach following Andrew Gale’s suspension over a historic Twitter post.

It also made clear Morton, whose links with Yorkshire can be traced all the way back to the 1980s, denied leaking the letter about Rafiq or that its contents gave any grounds to terminate his contract.

It added: “The defendant was known by Mr Morton to have denied liability to Azeem Rafiq in the employment tribunal proceedings brought by Mr Rafiq.

“The defendant was known by Mr Morton to have commissioned a report by Squire Patton Boggs into the allegations made by Azeem Rafiq (‘the Squire’s Report’), and although the defendant did not cause the findings of the Squire’s Report to be published, it was known to Mr Morton that the vast majority of Mr Rafiq’s allegations had not been upheld by the Squire’s Report.

“On 10 September 2021, and without any consultation with the individuals who provided services to YCC [Yorkshire Cricket Club], Roger Hutton, the then chairman of the defendant, issued a public apology to Mr Rafiq.

“The apology was in contrast to the fact the defendant was known to have denied liability in the employment tribunal proceedings, and in contrast to the fact that the vast majority of Mr Rafiq’s allegations were known to have not been upheld by the Squire’s Report.

“By the 14 October letter, Mr Morton and the other signatories sought to ‘appeal for some clarity on the clubs [sic] position and hopefully to move forward collectively and re-unite the club as a whole and individually’.”

Morton’s High Court claim included a copy of a four-year contract he signed with Yorkshire covering the period January 2020-December 2023, in which Pavilion would be paid £300,000 in the first year, rising to £323,000 in the final year.

As well as remunerating Morton, that was to pay for the services of sub-contractors Kunwar Bansil, Peter Miller, Chris Liversidge, Dr Nigel Mayers, Dr Chris Garnett, Dr Mark Nesti and Phil Lee, almost all of whom also signed the letter of complaint about Rafiq.

Morton’s claim includes for monies owed to them, as well as to those covered by a separate contract governing Yorkshire’s women’s team.

Yorkshire last week finally settled the last of seven employment tribunal claims against them when they agreed to compensate Gale, avoiding what was certain to be a damaging public hearing into their handling of their racism scandal.

The county, who have yet to file a defence to the claim lodged by Morton on behalf of those not employed directly by the club, did not respond to requests for comment.