Azeem Rafiq: ECB Chief Tom Harrison Says England Cricket Near ‘Emergency’ Over Diversity Issues

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Azeem Rafiq: ECB Chief Tom Harrison Says England Cricket Near ‘Emergency’ Over Diversity Issues


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Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton told the DCMS hearing he fears the club is institutionally racist

Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton told the DCMS hearing he fears the club is institutionally racist

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Harrison praised Rafiq’s “bravery” when speaking about his treatment in Yorkshire.

“We need to start looking at the culture of the locker room across the country,” he said. “There is a huge effort on this point from the ECB, but it takes time to materialize. “

Rafiq, who was born in Pakistan but raised in Barnsley and was captain of England’s Under-19 team, told panel members earlier that he would not want his son to “come close to cricket” after his own experiences of racism.

Asked about the perception of English cricket and the damage caused by the allegations of racism, Harrison said: “I would say please understand that we are so sorry for any experiences you may have had while trying to make it happen. experience of cricket in this country.

“We know we may have let you down. We will fix it quickly. We know that the survival of our sport depends on it. We will transform this game very quickly. “

Hutton: ECB should have investigated Rafiq’s allegations

Rafiq said he did not want to see any

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Rafiq said he did not want to see an ECB ‘symbol’ on the issue of racism in cricket

Rafiq said he did not want to see an ECB ‘symbol’ on the issue of racism in cricket

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Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton said he was prevented from removing former general manager Mark Arthur and cricket manager Martyn Moxon from the board because the Colin Graves Trust had vetoed them .

Rafiq described how Moxon, who is currently declared ill with a stress-related illness, “walked me into a room and literally ripped me off” upon his return to the club after his son was stillbirth.

He later said that a formal harassment complaint in 2017 directly led to his subsequent release, fearing he would continue to raise concerns about his treatment.

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Rafiq said that Joe Root

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Rafiq said Joe Root “never engaged in racist language,” but may not recall witnessing racist comments from other people. (Disclaimer: The video contains shocking language and content that viewers may find offensive)

Rafiq said Joe Root “never engaged in racist language,” but may not recall witnessing racist comments from other people. (Disclaimer: The video contains shocking language and content that viewers may find offensive)

Rafiq also revisited long-standing grievances against Arthur, and Hutton said he wanted to remove the pair “due to the inability to understand the gravity of the situation. [regarding Rafiq] and failing to apologize, and in particular for their failings and to move forward with the recommendations ”.

He said it was “wrong” for a major creditor like the Trust to have the power to veto the decisions of the board.

Hutton welcomed the DCMS committee’s involvement in the Yorkshire situation and added: “I am concerned about what would have happened if it had not. “

Hutton said he believes the ECB could and should have investigated Rafiq’s allegations, rather than leaving it in Yorkshire.

Rafiq said Michael Vaughan may not remember making a racist comment against a group of Asian Yorkshire players in 2009 - an accusation Vaughan strongly denies

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Rafiq said Michael Vaughan may not remember making a racist comment against a group of Asian Yorkshire players in 2009 – an accusation Vaughan strongly denies

Rafiq said Michael Vaughan may not remember making a racist comment against a group of Asian Yorkshire players in 2009 – an accusation Vaughan strongly denies

“In my opinion, the ECB had the discretion to investigate,” he said.

“Any member of the ECB could have launched this complaint, as they have just done with Essex at the moment. I think the investigation would have been much more satisfactory. “

However, Harrison appeared to refute Hutton’s suggestion, saying Yorkshire “was very clear that they wanted to conduct this investigation themselves”.

Meena Botros, director of legal affairs and integrity at the ECB, said Yorkshire had only asked the ECB if it wanted to appoint someone on the panel who would assess the findings of the investigation team.

Harrison said: “The reason Yorkshire was allowed to submit to this investigation is that – up to this point – it was fairly normal practice for first class counties to run their own regulatory process.

“We have learned lessons from this process. “

Lord Patel pledges to “right the wrongs of the past”

Yorkshire President Lord Patel praised Rafiq for his courage after testifying at the DCMS select committee hearing and pledged to ‘right the wrongs of the past’ to make the club an ‘inclusive home for women. future budding players ”.

In a statement, Lord Patel said it was “an incredibly difficult day for all associates at Yorkshire County Cricket Club” and again apologized to Rafiq for the treatment he had to endure.

“It has become increasingly clear since I joined this club that what happened with the investigation of Azeem’s allegations was fundamentally wrong and unacceptable,” the statement said. “The processes and actions taken by the Club have been rightly criticized.

“There are no quick fixes to the clear issues that have been identified, and the issues are complex, including the charge of institutional racism that needs to be tackled head-on. Azeem noted that this is not about individuals, but rather about the structure and process of the Club, and we need to address that.

“It is clear that we have good people at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and that gives me hope that we can. I am struck by the concept of ‘White Rose’ values ​​and what it means: I want to say firmly that our values ​​at this point The club can in no way be rooted in racism, discrimination or abuse of any kind. it would be.

“I agree with Azeem that we are only at the start of a journey, which will take time. At the heart of this is listening to and examining our past – including the Fletcher Report – as well as examining our culture and positive action. to build a better future, such as the progression from the grassroots to professional gaming. We must collectively own the issues as a club and cannot hide from what has come to light.

“In addition to setting up the independent whistleblower hotline, we are committed to taking additional action in response and will communicate these steps transparently.

“In his testimony, Azeem said that despite the treatment he received, ‘Yorkshire is still my club’. I want to make this cricket club a source of pride once again, right the wrongs of the past and ensure that we are an inclusive home for future budding players. “

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