Yorkshire CDC hearings: Former chairman Roger Hutton refuted Azeem Rafiq claims for which he and the club publicly apologised - Chris Waters comment

FORMER Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton rejected the upheld findings of the Squire Patton Boggs investigation into Azeem Rafiq’s claims of racism at the club – despite publicly apologising to the former player and insisting there was “no question” he was “a victim of racial harassment and bullying”.

In a sensational development on the opening day of the Cricket Discipline Commission hearings in London, it emerged for the first time that one of the four charges to which Lord Kamlesh Patel’s Yorkshire pleaded guilty concerns the club’s mishandling of the SPB investigation on the basis of a letter which Hutton sent to the England and Wales Cricket Board on October 8, 2021 “rejecting the report’s findings in respect of allegations the report had upheld”.

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The letter was sent one month after Hutton apologised on the club’s behalf after seven of 43 allegations were endorsed, triggering a cataclysmic chain of events which saw around 20 people leave their roles at Yorkshire (including Hutton) and the club itself lose millions of pounds.

Former cricket player Azeem Rafiq arrives to attend a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing, relating to allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, in London on March 1, 2023.(Picture: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)Former cricket player Azeem Rafiq arrives to attend a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing, relating to allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, in London on March 1, 2023.(Picture: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Former cricket player Azeem Rafiq arrives to attend a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing, relating to allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, in London on March 1, 2023.(Picture: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
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“I wish to extend my sincere, profound and unreserved apologies to Azeem and to his family,” said Hutton on September 10, 2021, when Yorkshire released their summary findings of the SPB report.

In his resignation statement of November 5, 2021, Hutton further claimed there was “a constant unwillingness from the executive members of the board and senior management at the club to apologise, and to accept that there was racism, and to look forward. For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge.”

Yet in the public CDC hearings in which he is refusing to take part, saying he has no faith in the process, Hutton’s contradictory position was exposed in an opening charge against Yorkshire which read...

“Yorkshire 'mishandled' the Squire Patton Boggs investigation into Rafiq's initial claims of racism on the basis of a letter from Yorkshire on 8 October 2021, signed by former chairman Roger Hutton, sent to the ECB and ‘rejecting the report's findings in respect of allegations the report had upheld’.

Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton thought the club was innocent despite describing Azeem Rafiq as "a victim of racial harassment and bullying". Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images.Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton thought the club was innocent despite describing Azeem Rafiq as "a victim of racial harassment and bullying". Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images.
Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton thought the club was innocent despite describing Azeem Rafiq as "a victim of racial harassment and bullying". Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images.
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“This charge also took into account Yorkshire stating that no disciplinary action would be taken against individuals implicated in the report and its ‘failure to take adequate disciplinary action’ against then employees about whom allegations were upheld in the report.”

Hutton oversaw Yorkshire’s response to the crisis as Mark Arthur, the chief executive, and Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket, were recused as they were directly implicated by Rafiq. Hutton even claimed that he was blocked from removing Arthur and Moxon by the Colin Graves family trusts, to which Yorkshire owe some £16m.

Lord Patel, who admitted that he had not even read the SPB report before settling Rafiq’s employment tribunal claim for £200,000 and then embarking on a sacking spree, has also pleaded guilty on Yorkshire’s behalf to an alleged mass deletion of emails and/or documents prior to his appointment; a failure to take “adequate action” over alleged racist/discriminatory conduct, and a failure to “address systemic use of racist or discriminatory language over a long period”.