Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire apologise to former player after he has several of his complaints upheld | Cricket News

Rafiq made allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire during his time with the county; Yorkshire say Rafiq was the victim of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ which was ‘clearly unacceptable’; Rafiq claims county are ‘fudging’ the issue

Last Updated: 19/08/21 1:54pm

Yorkshire have issued ‘profound apologies’ to former player Azeem Rafiq after an independent report upheld some of his allegations about his time with the county.

Yorkshire said in a statement that Rafiq was “the victim of inappropriate behaviour”, which they have described as “clearly unacceptable”.

However, the former off-spinner has accused the county of “fudging” his claim of institutional racism.

An independent investigation was commissioned by Yorkshire last September after Rafiq alleged he suffered racist abuse during his time at the club, where he had two spells between 2008 and 2018, which left him feeling suicidal.

The enquiry has been completed and a panel of experts – with experience within the fields of HR, sport, governance and employment law – returned a final report to the club last weekend together with a set of recommendations.

While Yorkshire stopped short of any admission of Rafiq’s central claim of racism, the club conceded on Thursday morning that “several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld”.

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq called for a report into allegations of racism at his old county to be published after he first came forward a year ago

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq called for a report into allegations of racism at his old county to be published after he first came forward a year ago

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq called for a report into allegations of racism at his old county to be published after he first came forward a year ago

Yorkshire said in a statement: “There were many allegations made against the club, most of which relate to a period more than 10 years ago.

“Many of the allegations were not upheld and for others there was insufficient evidence for the panel to make a determination.

“It is right, however, to acknowledge from the outset that several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that sadly, historically, Azeem was the victim of inappropriate behaviour.

“This is clearly unacceptable. We would like to express our profound apologies for this.

“The Panel also found that the club failed to implement its policies and procedures in relation to these serious issues.

“The club understands the importance of the Panel’s findings.”

Reacting to Yorkshire’s announcement, Rafiq said on Twitter: “‘Inappropriate behaviour’ are you sure about that @YorkshireCCC?? You carry on playing with your words & fudging this best way possible. ITS NOT GOING AWAY!!”

Roger Hutton, appointed Yorkshire chair last year, issued a personal apology to Rafiq, a former England U19 captain who skippered the White Rose in a Twenty20 match in 2012.

Hutton said: “I would like to acknowledge Azeem’s courage in raising these issues, and his participation in the investigation, which I understand must have been very difficult.

“I would also like to express my sincere apology to him for certain failings by the club, which have been highlighted by the panel.

“He has very obviously experienced some difficult and distressing times during the time since 2008 and the club could, and should, have supported him better.

“Since I joined the board in 2020, it has become obvious to me that both prior to and since, it has continually tried to improve its relationship with diverse communities.

“It has however not progressed far enough, particularly as we learn to see the world from fresh eyes, and I consider that this report will be a platform for further important changes at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

Yorkshire acknowledged that Rafiq was 'the victim of inappropriate behaviour'

Yorkshire acknowledged that Rafiq was ‘the victim of inappropriate behaviour’

Rafiq: Wait for report has been ‘harrowing’

Azeem Rafiq spoke to Sky Sports on Wednesday – prior to the release of Yorkshire’s statement – and talked about his disappointment at the length of time it has taken for the investigation to be completed and the negative effect the experience has had on his mental health.

“I think it’s pretty disappointing with how the 12 months has panned out,” he said.

“Yesterday was a year to the date of the Wisden article being published – and to still be here and waiting is disappointing.

“It feels like the 15 years before was one thing, but the last 12 months has been harrowing.

“I am not going to beat around the bush, it has been incredibly tough.

“Bearing in mind I sat in front of international television and talked about how it affected me mentally, the dark places it got me into – it’s got me in those same places, if not worse at times, through this process.”

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