Azeem Rafiq: Cricket faces day of reckoning with Uk lawmakers

Though numerous sporting activities players and governing bodies have been grappling with issues bordering race and inequality on and off the pitch, cricket is still noticed as “staunchly conservative,” Tom Fletcher, ​an academic in gatherings, tourism and hospitality management at Leeds Beckett University, explained to CNN.

“As you get even further through the system, the video game will get whiter and whiter,” he stated. “That transpires in all walks of the match, [it] takes place inside coaching as well,” Fletcher, whose exploration focuses on racism and social justice, mentioned.

Previous Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq manufactured more than 40 allegations in opposition to YCCC ​that he says took location amongst 2008 and 2018, in accordance to a report summary of an impartial inquiry executed on behalf of the club, which pointed out that in almost all situations he alleged he was matter to racial harassment or bullying.

Rafiq claimed the working experience remaining him near to getting his possess lifestyle.

Although YCCC ​said the inquiry only upheld 7 of Rafiq’s statements they conceded: “There is no problem that Azeem Rafiq, through his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment.”
As perfectly as Rafiq, senior administration from the club ​have been invited to show up at the session, and lawmakers will take into account what actions really should follow.
The allegations have raised uncomfortable questions for the England and Wales Cricket Board, which regulates English cricket.

The ECB’s Chief Government Officer Tom Harrison and Chair Barry O’Brien will also face queries from British lawmakers at Tuesday’s inquiry, according to a parliamentary be aware despatched on Monday.

String of allegations

In August, YCCC issued a statement saying “lots of of the ​(Rafiq’s) allegations were being not upheld” by an investigation it requested a panel of volunteer specialists to carry out. The club’s statement did not specify which.

For other allegations, the statement reported “there was inadequate proof.” But it claimed that “numerous” of Rafiq’s allegations have been upheld, and that he experienced been “the target of inappropriate behaviour.”

At minimum one participant admitted to on a regular basis utilizing the term ‘P**i’ — a phrase widely found as a slur and employed versus people of South Asian and Center Jap origin in Britain — when chatting to Rafiq, according to a report witnessed by ESPNcricinfo and in depth this thirty day period.

But the report stated that the player ​in question was exonerated because ​the overview panel saw the reviews as “banter” between the two players, ESPN​cricinfo claimed.

In accordance to ​the summary of YCCC’s September ​2021 report “Rafiq and his teammate’s language toward each individual other was unacceptable and was racist and derogatory and the Panel did not condone the language.”

In a statement posted to his Twitter account in October, Rafiq explained that the investigation into his allegations of racism “lacked transparency and due process​,” ​and that he experienced not been authorized to see the report, which he mentioned was done in August.

At the very least a single other participant has arrive ahead to corroborate aspects of the racism Rafiq says he endured at YCCC.

Previous 7 days, previous YCCC academy participant Irfan Amjad informed the BBC that he was racially abused by a member of team when he was 16 yrs previous.

Amjad alleged that his batting design and style was criticized by a member of workers, referencing his Pakistani heritage.

“I was shocked, failed to know what to do and was stunned. I had never been immediately racially insulted like that to my encounter. I did not know what to do,” he reported.

A different former Yorkshire academy player Tabassum Bhatti instructed BBC Sport he was subjected to racism from teammates at the club as a 14-yr-aged.

Bhatti explained ​”gamers urinated on his head, desecrated yet another Muslim player’s prayer mat and utilised racist language aimed at his Pakistani heritage.​”

YCCC did not respond to CNN’s ask for for comment relating to the allegations from Amjad and Bhatti.

The white rose logo for Yorkshire County Cricket Club is pictured outside Headingley, the home of Yorkshire cricket on November 5, 2021.

‘Staunchly conservative’

In accordance to Fletcher, cricket in Britain at the prime echelon of the activity faces a significant diversity obstacle.

“In the United kingdom, on an newbie level a very little about a 3rd of persons who perform cricket are from a South Asian qualifications,” Fletcher told CNN.

“The statistical proportion of players from other ethnic groups other than whites ​is really very low,” Fletcher, whose study focuses on racism and social justice, stated.

“The concern lies with how you make those transitions from beginner to online games and how you develop into identified,” added Fletcher, noting that cricket is however thought of to be “staunchly conservative” when compared to other sports activities.

Jamaican born Maurice Chambers informed The Cricketer ​in a piece revealed on Monday that he seasoned racism at Essex ​Country Cricket Club, with ​”a senior member of the coaching staff reading through out racist jokes in the dressing place,​” and a colleague contacting him a “f***ing monkey.”

The club released a assertion, expressing that “The allegations documented these days, involving Essex and one more club, make distressing looking at. Everything which has been described will be taken incredibly severely and investigated completely.”

CNN has reached out to Essex for even further comment.

Previous Essex player Zoheb Sharif also built allegations of racist abuse relating to his time at the club in between 2001 and 2004​, posted for the 1st time last week.

“It was a day right after the September 11 assaults. Folks started calling me Bomber,” Sharif explained to the Mirror.

Essex Cricket Main Government, John Stephenson, stated he was “stunned and saddened​” to hear of racial allegations involving a former participant, relationship back to 2001.

“There is unquestionably no position for discrimination of any form at Essex County Cricket Club and we have a zero-tolerance policy toward racism.

“I quickly arrived at out to the former player to offer you him my and Essex County Cricket Club’s complete help and to really encourage him to appear forward and communicate to myself and the Club about his encounters,” he additional.

But “up until finally now, English cricket in certain has been very peaceful on its placement [on racism],” Fletcher claimed.

“Maybe because basically they know full effectively [in] any form of gesture.. they will line themselves up to criticism if they were to get a posture on racism — so that gamers could come out and say well, you didn’t assist my assert,” he mentioned.

Azeem Rafiq of Yorkshire plays a shot during day one of the County Championship Division One match between Yorkshire and Warwickshire at Headingley on Aug. 2, 2013 in Leeds, England.

What transpires now?

Lawmaker Julian Knight, chair of the Digital, Lifestyle, Media and Sport pick committee has already called on the board of YCCC to resign in the wake of the allegations built by Rafiq.

“Offered the endemic racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, I wrestle to think of any cause why … the board ought to stay in write-up,” Knight, chair of the DCMS pick out committee, said on Twitter in early November.

Club chairman, Roger Hutton, ​resigned previously this month and apologized for what he described as “a consistent unwillingness” on the part of the club’s management “to apologize and to accept racism and to look forward.”

Hutton apologized to Rafiq in a assertion, expressing that even though he was not at the club throughout the period of time the cricketer was used, “the club really should have identified at the time the significant allegations of racism.

In the meantime, head coach Andrew Gale has been temporarily suspended while below investigation for ​a “historic” tweet he despatched, YCCC said, even though they did not give more specifics about the tweet.

Adhering to the allegations, a range of high profile sponsors have left the club, which has been suspended by The England and Wales Cricket Board from holding internationals and other major video games “right until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the benchmarks anticipated of an global venue, ECB member and 1st Class County,” the ECB reported.

The club’s new chair Lord Patel previous week declared the generation of a whistleblowing hotline and has urged other​s to “come ahead and share their ordeals.”

Mohinderpal Sethi QC has been appointed to direct an unbiased investigation looking into statements lodged through the hotline.

About the author: Mark Witcher

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