Azeem Rafiq scandal needs to be 'watershed moment for cricket,' Minister says

The Azeem Rafiq scandal needs to be a “watershed moment for cricket” a Minister has said, as he confirmed that the Government “stands ready to take action” if Yorkshire Country Cricket Club and the sport’s governing body fail to take real action.

Culture, Media and Sports Minister Chris Philp also called for remaining members of the club’s board to resign, telling the House of Commons that “I think there are others who should now consider their positions.”

Parliament also heard that MPs are still yet to see the report into the allegations of racism against the bowler, which is said to have dismissed slurs as “banter” despite the document being promised. .

Responding to an Urgent Question in the Commons this afternoon, Mr Philp said: “The Government applauds Azeem Rafiq’s courage in speaking out and encourages anyone else similarly affected to do the same.

A general view of Yorkshire County Cricket Club's Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

“This must be a watershed moment for cricket. The Government will now closely scrutinise the actions of the ECB [...] and we’re going to scrutinise the actions that YCCC take in response to these damming allegations.

"They need to be thorough, they need to be transparent and they need to be public, that is necessary to restore the public’s faith in cricket and beyond.

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"Parliament is watching. The Government is watching and the country is watching.

"We expect real action and the Government stands ready to step in and take action if they do not put their own house in order."

International matches have been suspended at Headingley and a raft of sponsors have removed their support from the county club in recent days, and former chairman Roger Hutton has been among those to hand in his notice,

The debate on the matter was granted by the Speaker to Labour MP for Stockport Navendu Mishra, who said that any regret now being expressed over the scandal is “too little too late”.

“The leaked racism report from Yorkshire County Cricket Club has exposed the extent of its serious allegations of discrimination have been mishandled, covered up and it seems sadly entirely ignored over a long period of time.

“Players and former board members of the club have since come forward expressing their regret.

“This is too little too late.”