New Yorkshire CCC racism investigation won't compel accused witnesses to give evidence

A new investigation into alleged racism and bullying at Yorkshire CCC will have no powers to compel those named in complaints to give evidence.

The terms of reference for the Sethi investigation - which has already been contacted by 36 people through a whistleblowing email ‘hotline’ - state: “No person making or otherwise relevant to the complaints or referred complaints will be compelled to participate in the investigation, although anyone with relevant evidence in respect of the complaints or referred complaints is encouraged to give evidence”.

The Sethi investigation, led by QC Mohinderpal Sethi, has been ordered by the club’s new chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel in the wake of a “flawed” initial investigation into allegations by former player Azeem Rafiq.

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The full findings of the original inquiry are yet to be made public but it found Mr Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying after upholding seven out of 43 allegations he made.

A new investigation into alleged racism and bullying at Yorkshire CCC has been ordered.A new investigation into alleged racism and bullying at Yorkshire CCC has been ordered.
A new investigation into alleged racism and bullying at Yorkshire CCC has been ordered.

It made no determination on Mr Rafiq’s central claim that the club was institutionally racist.

The original investigation also had no power to compel witnesses and a summary of its findings released by the club in September said although 26 witnesses had participated, “many individuals declined to participate in the investigation, and this impacted on its ability to make conclusive findings one way or another”.

Among those to refuse to speak to investigators was former England captain Michael Vaughan.

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Writing in The Daily Telegraph earlier this month about why he had refused to participate previously, Mr Vaughan said he was “gobsmacked” to be told the night before he was due to give evidence that he was being accused of telling a group of Asian players including Mr Rafiq “that there are ‘too many of you lot, we need to do something about it’.”

Mr Vaughan said: “My professional legal advice was that I could not appear before a panel having had just a few hours’ notice of the such serious claims made against me.”

While current Yorkshire and England player Adil Rashid has subsequently backed Mr Rafiq’s account of the allegation, Mr Vaughan continues to strongly deny ever making such a remark.

No deadline has been set for the completion of the Sethi investigation but it has been promised that “the chair will complete the work in a timely manner and aim to provide reports to YCCC as soon as reasonably practicable”.

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The report said that if police involvement becomes necessary, any criminal investigation will take precedence but this inquiry may continue in parallel with it.

The terms of reference said: “There has been widespread media coverage of Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s mishandling of its investigation into allegations of discrimination and harassment brought by Azeem Rafiq.

“A number of further complaints of discrimination have been made to YCCC and in the media, raising serious concerns of unequal and detrimental treatment on prohibited grounds.

“In view of the seriousness of the complaints and the wider public interest in the culture, integrity and good governance of county cricket, YCCC considers that it is both necessary and desirable for there to be an independent investigation which will investigate and determine formal written complaints of unlawful discrimination as a result of any act or omission of YCCC.”

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The terms confirm the costs for the investigation will be paid by Yorkshire CCC.

It said those making complaints will be able to request anonymity.

“If an individual does not wish to have their name disclosed, this should be made clear in any written submission to the Investigation. The chair will consider whether he is able to agree to this request or will seek further information from the individual to understand why the request has been made.

“No individual under the age of 18 will be mentioned by name or otherwise identified in any report produced for the purposes of the investigation. For the purposes of the investigation, the age of an individual is determined as at the date of the submission of any information provided to the investigation.”

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