Cricketing body admits 'failings' dealing with Azeem Rafiq Yorkshire racism scandal

A professional cricketing body has admitted it “did not meet the standards” when it came to dealing with Azeem Rafiq and the Yorkshire racism scandal.

Azeem Rafiq pictured giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in 2021
Azeem Rafiq pictured giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in 2021

The Chief Executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association has told a committee of MPs that there were “some failings” in their dealing with the former spinner, who has previously described the body as “inept”.

Mr Rafiq has previously laid bare his experiences of experiencing racism while playing for Yorkshire, giving evidence to Parliament last year.

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While speaking to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport this morning, Rob Lynch was asked whether he thought the players union should have been more supportive of Mr Rafiq.

He responded: “We had some failings in our dealings with Azeem Rafiq and have learnt a lot of lessons from the last 12 months with Azeem.

“We applaud Azeem for his courage and bravery in being the whistleblower coming forward to create the necessary change within the game.

He went on: “The PCA has offered support to Azeem throughout his career but clearly in this dispute with Yorkshire we did not meet the standards we would have wished to.

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“We have apologised directly to Azeem for where we went wrong.

“We have listened to Azeem as to what he feels are the issues in the game and what can be done better and a number of changes have been introduced.”

The PCA is set to bring in its own independent whistleblower hotline and will also recruit a director of equality, inclusion and diversity.

Mr Lynch was asked what he learned from Mr Rafiq’s harrowing testimony three months ago in front of the parliamentary committee.

“I specifically learned we needed to voice pressure more publicly and more quickly, which in this incidence was with Yorkshire and the ECB, so if we were in a similar issue again, we would do that,” the Chief Executive added.

“We had some failing and learning through this experience.

“We should have stepped in and put more public pressure on the ECB and Yorkshire.

“We put too much faith in Yorkshire and the ECB. We should have said in media we wanted Yorkshire to conclude their findings quicker.”