David Lloyd apologises to Azeem Rafiq and 'Asian cricket community' over messages

Sky Sports commentator and former England coach David Lloyd has apologised to Azeem Rafiq and "the Asian cricket community" after his behind-the-scenes actions were highlighted to MPs.

During his testimony to MPs on Tuesday morning about his experiences of racism at Yorkshire CCC, Azeem Rafiq named Mr Lloyd as a person who had been behind attempts to "smear" his name.

“I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what’s happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing,” Mr Rafiq said.

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“High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like, “The club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there”, “Getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone”.

David Lloyd has apologised for remarks about Azeem Rafiq and Asian cricket players.

“And then personally this guy doesn’t even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.

“That was David Lloyd, he’s been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that’s what I got sent to me. And I thought, “Gosh, there’s some closet racists and we need to do something about it”.”

Following the hearing, Mr Lloyd issued an apology for his remarks.

In a statement on Twitter, he said: “In October 2020, I had a private message exchanged with a third party involved in cricket, about a number of topics.

“In these messages, I referred to allegations about Azeem Rafiq which I had heard from within the game. I also made some comments about the Asian cricket community.

“I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.”

He added: "I am strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport.

"It is very obvious now that more work needs to be done and I will do everything I can to remove discrimination from the sport I love and the sport that has been my life for over 50 years."

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