Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur resigns with immediate effect in wake of Azeem Rafiq racism crisis

Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur has resigned with immediate effect, it has been announced.

An investigation ordered by the club found former player Azeem Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying but reached no conclusion on his central allegation that Yorkshire CCC was institutionally racist.

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A statement from Mr Arthur released by the club made no direct mention of the crisis, instead listing a series of achievements made during his time in charge.

Mark Arthur is leaving Yorkshire CCC

However, while new chairman Lord Patel thanked Mr Arthur for his work his statement also said that new leadership "will be vital in driving the change we urgently need".

The crisis has seen sponsors desert Yorkshire in the past fortnight, while the ECB has suspended the club from hosting international matches.

Finance director Paul Hudson has been appointed acting CEO as a search begins for Mr Arthur's permanent replacement.

Lord Patel said: "Today the Board at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has accepted the resignation of Mark Arthur as CEO. We thank him for his tenure.

Mark Arthur has left Yorkshire CCC with immediate effect. Picture: Steve Riding.

“This is an important moment for the club which is ready to move forward with new leadership, which will be vital in driving the change we urgently need.

“We know there is still much work to be done and more difficult decisions to be made. We need to rebuild the trust of the fans, the cricketing world and the public”.

Mr Arthur said: “I’ve had eight fantastic years at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, working alongside an outstanding group of people, and together achieving many highlights, including:

- The financing and construction of the new South Stand

- A new contract giving YCCC a 50% share of catering at Headingley Stadium

- The acquisition of the Carnegie Pavilion

- The amazing progress of the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation

- The six year south Asian engagement programme

- Introduction of professional women’s cricket to Headingley

- Introduction of first class cricket to York

- Redevelopment of Bradford Park Avenue for the benefit of the community

- A £7m reduction in the Club’s long term debt

- Back to back county championship wins

"I would like to thank the Members for their support over this period and wish the Club all the very best in the years to come”.

The development came after England captain Joe Root, who is Yorkshire’s best-known player, issued a statement on the crisis.

He said: “There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable. These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county.”

Some of the biggest names during Root’s time with Yorkshire have seen claims made against them. His friend and mentor Michael Vaughan completely denies making an offensive comment to a group of Asian team-mates over a decade ago, former flatmate Gary Ballance has admitted using a “racial slur” against Rafiq during a close friendship and former club captain Andrew Gale is currently suspended from his post as head coach pending the investigation of an offensive historic tweet.

After his statement, Root gave a press conference in which he said he could not remember an occasion at Yorkshire where he could have called out racism at the club and regretted not doing so.

In what The Yorkshire Post understands was a response to those comments, Rafiq tweeted soon after: “Disappointed is not even the feeling. Incredibly hurt. But uncomfortable truths are hard to accept it seems.”

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