Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire appoint sub-committee to investigate racism allegations

Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire appoint sub-committee to investigate racism allegations

Yorkshire have appointed a sub-committee including prominent figures in the British-Asian cricket community, as it launches a review into allegations of institutional racism from former player Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq has said “deep rooted” racism at the club left him close to taking his own life.

The ex-England U-19s and Yorkshire captain walked away from cricket after his time with the county side, but spoke out after what he claims was “years of racist abuse”.

The 29-year-old told Sky Sports News he reported incidents of abuse to senior officials at Yorkshire before his departure from the club.

Yorkshire CCC launched a formal investigation into the specific allegations made by Rafiq and a wider review of the club’s policies and culture, led by independent law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

The sub-committee which will carry out the process has also co-opted Dr Samir Pathak who will act as chair. Dr Pathak is a Trustee of the MCC Foundation, a member of the MCC cricket committee, an Academic Clinical Lecturer at the University of Bristol, and a Liver and Pancreas Surgeon at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

Gulfraz Riaz has also been co-opted onto the sub-committee. Mr Riaz is the chairman of the National Asian Cricket Council (NACC) and has worked as a cricket development manager at Club Cricket Conference for the past eight years.

Stephen Willis, chief financial officer at Durham University and senior independent director at The Yorkshire County Cricket Club will join the sub-committee, along with Hanif Malik OBE.

Commenting on his appointment as chair, Dr Pathak said: “Being of British-Indian heritage and having been born in Yorkshire, it is an honour to chair this sub-committee which will review the serious grievances raised.

“There is a need for all organisations to be diverse and inclusive. My heritage means that I have a deep-rooted interest in equality within sport and society, and I aim to be as impartial as possible throughout this fair and independent investigation.”

ECB ‘deeply troubled’ by Rafiq’s claims

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) says they welcome Yorkshire’s commitment to a thorough investigation into Rafiq’s claims and praised the former bowler’s courage for speaking out.

A statement made last week read: “We are deeply troubled to hear of Azeem Rafiq’s experiences and recognise the courage it has taken for him to speak out.

“The ECB welcomes Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s commitment to thoroughly and urgently investigate this case and the wider review of club policies and culture. We will follow these closely and are in contact with the club and with Azeem. We will consider any further ECB steps which may be appropriate.

“Azeem’s story is similar to some of the experiences we have heard about during the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrates how much work is needed across the game, sport and society as a whole to eradicate racism.

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