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Yorkshire cricketers taking legal advice ahead of Azeem Rafiq’s evidence to MPs about ‘institutional racism’

Several Yorkshire cricketers have been taking legal advice anticipating that they could be accused of racist behaviour when former team-mate Azeem Rafiq gives evidence to MPs in Westminster. 

The 30-year-old whistleblower, who has accused his former club of being “institutionally racist”, will explain why the abuse he suffered led him to consider taking his own life.

The former all-rounder will have the protection of parliamentary privilege when he addresses the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee at 9.30am on Tuesday.

This means he is free to name names without worrying about legal reprisals.

The full report into Rafiq’s allegations, which was compiled by an independent panel at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, has never been published.

However, it did uphold some of Rafiq’s complaints and concluded he was the victim of “racial harassment and bullying” but nobody at the club faced disciplinary action.

The DCMS committee could also address the row over whether former England captain Michael Vaughan did or did not say that there were too many British Asian players in the Yorkshire side in 2009.

Rafiq along with his former team mates Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan have accused Vaughan of making the comment during a match but it is something the former England captain categorically denies.

Yesterday, Vaughan said: “It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former teammate, apparently supported by two other players.

“I fully accept that perspectives differ, and I have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has gone through, but I hope everyone understands why I cannot allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be trashed unfairly.”

Former Yorkshire club chair Roger Hutton, who quit his job at Headingley, is also expected to give evidence to MPs about the way the club conducted its investigation.

Former chief executive Mark Arthur who also resigned has been invited but is now no longer listed as a witness.

The chair and chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board will also be questioned on the way they handle complaints of racism.

Rafiq’s friend, Mohammed Patel, who organised the recent protest outside Headingley, told Sky News: “Azeem Rafiq has not only uncovered the unpleasantness of racism but has equally exposed the disconnection between the Government, Sport England, England and Wales Cricket and county cricket.

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“It may suggest that public money has not provided a level playing field for those from minority and disadvantaged communities.

“A full independent inquiry is now required as a matter of utmost urgency.”

Yesterday former Essex players Maurice Chambers and Zoheb Sharif recalled the racist bullying they say they suffered during their playing careers.

They are part of a growing movement within cricket to highlight previous racist behaviour and to call on the game’s governing bodies to live up to their often repeated slogan that there is “no room for racism” in cricket.

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