Warwickshire CCC to speak to Azeem Rafiq over Tim Bresnan racism and bullying allegations

Warwickshire CCC will talk to Azeem Rafiq "at the earliest opportunity" after his allegations about Tim Bresnan's conduct during his time at Yorkshire CCC came to light.

Mr Bresnan played for Yorkshire CCC between 2001 and 2019 before going onto join Warwickshire in 2020. The bowler also played for England between 2006 and 2015.

In a witness statement from Mr Rafiq to an employment tribunal published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee yesterday, it emerged that Mr Rafiq had accused Mr Bresnan of frequently making racist comments towards him and being part of a group that bullied him. Mr Rafiq said he had made a formal complaint about Mr Bresnan's conduct to Yorkshire in 2017.

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Mr Bresnan has said it is "absolutely not true" he frequently made racist comments but has apologised "for any part I played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq’s experience of feeling bullied at Yorkshire".

Tim Bresnan now plays for Warwickshire but has spent the majority of his career at Yorkshire.

Mark McCafferty, chairman of Warwickshire, said: “This is the first time Warwickshire CCC has seen this statement, and we are seriously concerned to learn of Azeem’s direct allegations against Tim Bresnan.

“As a result, Warwickshire CCC will seek to talk to Azeem at the earliest opportunity so that we can fully understand the detail of these allegations. We will then talk to Tim to get his perspective. While he is devastated to learn of these newly published allegations, Tim has already told us that he will fully co-operate with this process.

“This is a delicate matter, as it involves allegations about Tim’s behaviour while at another club. However, as we have said before, racism or bullying will not be tolerated here at Warwickshire, and we will not shirk from investigating these matters in full and taking action if necessary.

“Warwickshire CCC must reflect the communities that we serve at every level, with Edgbaston a safe and welcoming place for all.”

Azeem Rafiq gave evidence to MPs yesterday.

In a statement on Twitter last night, Mr Bresnan said: “I have been made aware of the bullying claims made against me and have listened to Azeem Rafiq’s account of his time at Yorkshire CCC today with great distress, as I’m sure everyone will have done.

“For any part I played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq’s experience of feeling bullied at Yorkshire, I apologise unreservedly.

“Following the publication of Azeem’s witness statement from the employment tribunal, which I saw for the first time this afternoon, I must though categorically deny his accusation that I ‘frequently made racist comments’. This is absolutely not true.”

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