Sunday, January 29, 2023

Yorkshire chairman resigns over Rafiq cricket racism case

LONDON (AP) – Yorkshire president Roger Hutton has resigned in the wake of former player Azim Rafiq’s allegations of racism against the English cricket club, citing the club’s reluctance to accept the claims and refusal to apologise. .

“Today I announce my resignation as President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club with immediate effect,” Hutton said on Friday.

“There has been a persistent reluctance to apologize to the board’s executive members and the club’s senior management, and to acknowledge that there was racism, and to look further. For most of my time at the club, I have experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge. “

Hutton joined the Yorkshire board in 2020, nearly two years after Rafiq finished his second stint at Headingley, and says he has never met the player.

On Thursday, Yorkshire were suspended from hosting international matches as punishment for their handling of a case of racism that rocked the sport.

The England and Wales Cricket Board slammed the club for its “totally unacceptable” response to the racism faced by Rafiq.

Several of Yorkshire’s sponsors have left the beleaguered club, and the ECB said the case “is causing serious damage to the reputation of the sport.”

“The ECB finds this matter disgusting and against the spirit of cricket and its values,” the governing body said in a statement.

Yorkshire’s Headingley Stadium was scheduled to host England’s Tests against New Zealand in 2022 and men’s One Day Internationals against South Africa, as well as the Ashes Test against Australia in 2023.

But the ECB said the club is “suspended from hosting international or major matches unless it is clearly demonstrated that it can meet the expected standards of an international venue.”

Yorkshire said last month that it would not take any disciplinary action against any of its staff, players or officials, while a report found Rafiq – one of its former captains – was the victim of racial harassment and bullying.

“During my tenure as president, I take responsibility for failing to persuade him to take appropriate and timely action,” Hutton said Friday. “This dismay is shared by all non-executive members of the board, some of whom have now resigned..”

Former England Under-19 captain Rafiq said in interviews last year that during his time in Yorkshire from 2008-18, he was made to feel like an “outsider” as a Muslim and was close to taking his own life.

A formal independent investigation was launched by Yorkshire into more than 40 allegations made by Rafiq, seven of which were upheld in a report released last month.

On Wednesday, former England cricketer Gary Ballance admitted to using racial slurs against Rafiq when they were teammates in Yorkshire, but added that “it was a situation where best friends would object to each other”. Things used to be said which, outside of that context, would be considered entirely. out of place.”


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