All Yorkshire County Cricket Club members must be heard - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: John Jackson, Leeds.

Colin Graves. Pic: PA.
Colin Graves. Pic: PA.

Further to your article in which Colin Graves highlighted his wish to speak ‘for the members’ on the newly constituted board at Yorkshire County Cricket Club (The Yorkshire Post, May 7).

Mr Graves has made a significant contribution to the development of cricket at County and Test Match level in Yorkshire. However, there are two matters where he shows that he is now out of touch.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Firstly, the disclosure of racism at the cricket club and the revelations over the treatment of Azeem Rafiq was not merely a ‘furore’ as minimised by Mr Graves in the interview, but genuine discrimination which significantly affected one individual and highlighted the mistreatment and abuse of many who play cricket not just in this county but nationwide.

Secondly to frequently describe YCCC as ‘a members club’ where ‘the members have a voice’ is sadly far from reality. Following Mr Rafiq’s disclosure of how he had been treated by the club I expected an uprising by Yorkshire members (of which I am one) to reclaim the club from the administrators of the past (similar to all those supporters of football clubs who stood against the introduction of the European Super League in football), but this never came.

Though there have been pockets of members arguing for change, it took the present board led by Lord Patel to put forward a credible path to deal with the issues the club faced, and it wasn’t until the EGM called by the present committee that the ‘members’ voice’ was belatedly heard. To say that Yorkshire members have been listened to over recent years, as often said by Robin Smith and Mr Graves, I doubt is correct.

There was no proper structure to link together all the members during the autumn. There are a series of groups on social media and the admirable Members Forum but limited connectivity to most of the membership.

Mr Graves and former chairman Mr Smith have their supporters, but it is clear that this group do not represent the members who responded to their outbursts at the recent EGM with dismay and some polite murmurings. I hope that the members’ representatives on the committee bring a refreshing change to the old guard at the club.

Whilst they are very capable individuals and have served the club for many years, the time has come for all members to be heard, not just a small minority who shout the loudest.

Those administrators of the past do not speak for most of the membership and the club must move on.