Graves Family trustees owed £15m by Yorkshire CCC give 'unequivocal' backing to Lord Kamlesh Patel appointment

Trustees owed almost £15m by Yorkshire County Cricket Club have given their “full and unequivocal” support to the appointment of Lord Kamlesh Patel as the new Yorkshire chairman in response to the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Lord Kamlesh Patel is the new chairman of Yorkshire CCC. Picture: Tony Johnson

According to the club’s most recent accounts, Yorkshire owes £14.9m in the form of three separate loans to trusts which are linked to the family of former Yorkshire and England Cricket Board chairman Colin Graves.

Under the rules of the club, approval from the trusts is required before any person is appointed to the board of directors until those debts are fully repaid.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

There had been reports in advance of Lord Patel’s appointment that Mr Graves could return to the club as chairman himself.

Colin Graves is former chairman of Yorkshire and the ECB.

Lord Patel is due to give a press conference this afternoon after being announced on Friday as the new Yorkshire CCC chairman, replacing Roger Hutton who resigned that morning over the handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism report.

Speaking before Lord Patel’s appointment was announced, Mr Hutton, who was appointed as chairman in 2020, told The Yorkshire Post that there had been a recent attempt to reinstate Mr Graves as the YCCC chairman.

“The club owes substantial sums to the Graves Trust. The independent trustees of the Graves Trust told the club that it was considering calling in its loan. They told the club they would like me to go and Colin Graves to be appointed chairman,” he said.

“The club needs to move out of the past and into the future. I think it is complicated for Colin if he comes back because he was the chairman at the time many of these allegations took place.

“That proposition was put to the whole board a couple of weeks back and the whole board were not supportive of that position.”

When asked what would happen if the Graves Family Trusts did go through with calling in its loans, Mr Hutton said: “The reality is the board would be faced with a situation where either the club is placed into an insolvent process or has to acquiesce to the wishes of the independent trustees of the Graves Trust.”

When The Yorkshire Post put Mr Hutton’s comments to the Graves Family Trusts through a law firm that represents them, a spokesperson on behalf of the trustees provided the following statement: “The appointment of Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford as a director and chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club has the full and unequivocal support of the trustees.”

Mr Hutton said he intends to give evidence to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee later this month, having been requested to attend and answer questions about Yorkshire’s handling of Mr Rafiq’s racism claims. Mr Rafiq is also due to give evidence to the committee.

New chairman Lord Patel to give press conference today

Lord Patel, a respected former England and Wales Cricket Board board member and chair of the governing body’s South Asian advisory group, has been installed to plot a course beyond the immediate scandal.

He will host a press conference at Headingley today but began his term with a short introductory statement which read: “I’m looking forward to taking this club forward and driving the change that is needed. The club needs to learn from its past errors, regain trust and rebuild relationships with our communities.

“There is much work to do, including reading the panel’s report (into Mr Rafiq’s claims), so we can begin the process of learning from our past mistakes.”

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you'll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click here to subscribe.