Cricketer Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire to take no action against any employees after racism claims by former player

Yorkshire County Cricket Club will take no disciplinary action against any of its employees, players or executives following an independent report into allegations of racism by former player Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq, who told Sky News last year that he had felt suicidal because of “deep rooted” racism at the club, has tweeted his disbelief at the statement and called on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to take appropriate action.

He has also called on Yorkshire’s board to resign.

Rafiq posted on Twitter: “Hold on a minute here.

“So you accept I was the victim of racial harassment and bullying but no one warrants disciplinary action?

“Sometimes you just want to scream!!!!”

“@ECB_cricket come on now!!! Sort this before I do!!

A spokesperson for Rafiq said: “It is inconceivable that there are no current employees who should not have been disciplined for their conduct. Yorkshire’s failures continue to mount up and it is time that board members – for once – do the decent thing and resign.”

The 30-year-old said last year that he had reported incidents of abuse to senior officials at Yorkshire before his departure from the club in 2018. He said teammates had called him a “p***” and he would often leave social events in tears because of racist comments.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club said at the time that they had launched a formal investigation and had tried to contact Rafiq to discuss his experiences.

After announcing that nobody would face disciplinary action now that the investigation is complete, the club said in a statement on Thursday: “None of this diminishes the importance of the findings or that fact that there is much the club can learn from the report.

“It was important for Azeem to raise the issues and without him doing so we would not have the panel’s recommendations which are an important part of the club’s continuing journey.

“Club chair Roger Hutton believes the club and everyone connected to it should be proud of the work that the club has done to improve diversity and inclusion prior to his involvement, but equally acknowledges there remains much to be done going forward.

“The club is fully supportive of what is a strong and talented team which is working hard on the recommendations on the way forward for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and looks forward being able to report on further developments over the coming months.”

The club added that the issues raised by Rafiq are also going to be considered by an employment tribunal and the ECB.

The ECB has issued its own statement confirming it had received a copy of the independent report from Yorkshire.

The board said: “This is a matter with many serious allegations at its heart and the ECB’s regulatory team will now consider the report as part of its investigation.

“We anticipate that it will take time for the regulatory process to reach its conclusion, but it is imperative that this is completed thoroughly and with fairness to all involved.”

Speaking about his experiences to Sky News last year, Rafiq said: “I know how close I was to committing suicide during my time at Yorkshire.

“At my worst, I was right on the edge, stood on my balcony. I would regularly come home from training or nights out with the team and cry. It was a very difficult time for me.

“In one of my first few games, we were going onto the field and there was me, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naved and one of the senior players said, ‘There’s too many of you lot, it’s something we need to have a word about.”

He added: “We would be on nights out, I would be speaking to someone and I’d have teammates coming over and saying, ‘Don’t speak to him he’s a p***’.”

“Racism in cricket is deep-rooted. There were constant social events where I’d leave crying. Sometimes these things get disguised as banter but it’s always stuck with me.”

Rafiq was born in Pakistan and moved to England when he was 10.

He had been involved in the cricket set-up in Yorkshire since the age of 11 before he cut ties with the side.

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