Yorkshire CCC have come out with a formal statement about the investigation into allegations of racism raised by former player Azeem Rafiq. The club has acknowledged that several allegations made by Rafiq were upheld and has apologized to him for the ‘inappropriate behavior’ that he had been a victim of.
Azeem Rafiq, who is of Pakistani origin, had spoken publicly about these racial incidents last year. He came out in September of 2020 with the allegation that he was ‘bullied’, ‘targeted’ and ‘ridiculed’ because of his ethnic background. He revealed that the players of Asian origin were often referred to as ‘Pakis’ or ‘elephant washers’.
In a statement that Yorkshire CCC published on its social media page, the management has also pointed out that some allegations made were not upheld owing to insufficient evidence. The statement read:
“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 statement also cited a quote from Yorkshire CCC Chair Roger Hutton acknowledging Azeem Rafiq’s courage in bringing the issue to light.
“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,” wrote Hutton.
Yorkshire CCC confirmed that the report has been submitted to their board for review and will be published in the coming weeks.
ECB demanded Yorkshire CCC publish the report after Azeem Rafiq expressed disappointment delay
After announcing an investigation into the matter in November of 2020, Yorkshire CCC did not come up with a report until now.
Azeem Rafiq expressed his disappointment earlier this week about the extended delay. He said that the wait for the report has been ‘harrowing’ and it has gotten him to some ‘dark places’ mentally.
“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,” Rafiq told Sky Sports.
Soon after Rafiq expressed his concern, the chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) told the press that the board has requested a copy of the report from Yorkshire CCC. They also requested for a timeline for the final publication.