Rafiq holds back tears at hearing as he says he was ‘pinned down’ & forced to drink at 15

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq was made to drink wine at 15 despite his faith

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Azeem Rafiq appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee to give evidence on his experiences with racism while at Yorkshire Country Cricket Club and emotionally recalled the first time he tried alcohol. Mr Rafiq told the hearing he was pinned down by a group of lads at his cricket club and was forced to drink red wine aged just 15 despite being a practising Muslim. Mr Rafiq held back tears as he revealed he took up alcohol later in life when he was older to “fit in” and recalled how no one would check up on him to see how he was doing.

Mr Rafiq and Yorkshire’s former cricket chairman Roger Hutton appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee to give evidence on racism allegations.

The former cricketer was the victim of “racial harassment and bullying” but his club did not follow through and punish anyone.

Mr Hutton has repeatedly denied anyone was racist and stepped down from his role on November 5.

Mr Rafiq played for Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018 but left the club after claiming racism made him want to take his life.

Mr Rafiq said he dreaded his life at the club and said a teammate racially abused him because of his Pakistani heritage.

An investigation into the claims was launched in September 2020 with the findings being released in August 2021.

Following the report, Yorkshire County Cricket Club said Mr Rafiq was “the victim of inappropriate behaviour” which Mr Rafiq said was downplaying racism.

Out of the 43 allegations, seven were upheld, and found Mr Rafiq was the victim of racism.

However, the club refused to release the full report for legal reasons and was not convinced the club was institutionally racist.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said “heads should roll” for the scandal and said if the England and Wales Cricket Board could not fix the situation it was no longer fit for purpose.


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