Yorkshire CCC 'confident' sackings were justified as AGM answers queried

Yorkshire County Cricket Club says it is confident a series of staff sackings carried out in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal were “fully justified” after being accused of failing to provide members with the full picture about its legal battle with the former employees.

The club is facing legal action from six out of the 16 members of staff who were dismissed from their jobs late last year, including head coach Andrew Gale.

A consent judgement published last week following agreement between the parties confirmed Yorkshire had agreed the unfair dismissal claims against them were “well founded” and that the matter would now move to remediation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While Yorkshire has accepted it did not go through a disciplinary process before the dismissals were made, it said today that the “key question” that is yet to be resolved is whether the tribunal will agree with the club’s position that the sackings were justified.

Former staff members at Yorkshire are taking action against the club over their dismissalsFormer staff members at Yorkshire are taking action against the club over their dismissals
Former staff members at Yorkshire are taking action against the club over their dismissals

The statement from the club comes after former chairman Robin Smith, who has been engaged in a public war of words with current chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel over the handling of the scandal, claimed members had been provided with misleading information at the club’s recent AGM about the position of the legal case involving the sacked staff.

The AGM took place on May 28, five days after the consent judgement had been agreed but prior to it officially being made public on June 7. On May 27, the Daily Mail published a story which said the club had conceded liability on the unfair dismissal claims and was now facing paying “vast sums” in compensation and legal fees.

A statement by three people who had attended the AGM - Mr Smith, club vice-president Tony Vann and long-time member Martin Butterworth - said: “Mr Smith asked if the Club’s admission of liability in the Employment Tribunal proceedings regarding claims by previous employees for unfair dismissal, as reported in that morning’s Daily Mail, meant that the Board’s view now was that there had been no racism on the part of the six employees who had been dismissed, and therefore, by extension, in the Club as a whole.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They said Lord Patel and acting CEO Paul Hudson had indicated the Mail’s report was inaccurate.

They said: “There was, therefore, no further discussion. The subsequent release into the public domain of the Employment Tribunals Consent Judgement dated May 23 shows that the Daily Mail report was entirely correct.”

Their joint statement was put to Yorkshire CCC by The Yorkshire Post and the club was asked whether they disputed the version of events described.

A club spokesperson said in response: “As everyone knows the club did not go through a disciplinary procedure prior to the summary dismissals. The club believes this was both appropriate and justified.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Some have mischievously and for their own opportunistic ends misportrayed this as a vindication of the dismissed employees. Nothing is further from the truth. The key question remains (as ever it did) whether the Tribunal agrees with the club that the summary dismissals were justified.

"The Tribunal will make that determination over 11 days in October and November this year at the substantive hearing.

“No responsible organisation gives a running commentary on its litigation strategy but it obviously follows that the club does not accept Robin Smith’s assertion that there was no racism at the club. The EHRC also said Azeem was likely to have been subjected to unlawful acts of discrimination.

Mr Smith said: “I never said there was no racism at the Club. I simply don’t have all the facts, although I do say there was none of which I was aware until Azeem Rafiq’s allegations were brought to my attention in August 2018.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“What I did say at the AGM was a question as to whether, in the light of the Club’s consent to judgement against it on liability, the board now accepted that there had been no racism on the part of the six claimants and, by extension, within the Club as a whole.

“The consent judgement speaks for itself.”

Yorkshire’s accounts show it has set money aside as a provision “in respect of those who have brought legal claims against the club”.

Read More
Azeem Rafiq racism scandal: Seven people charged over Yorkshire racism affair

At The Yorkshire Post, we are committed to speaking truth to power on behalf of the people who call God’s Own County their home. Our political team and Westminster Correspondent are Yorkshire's eyes and ears in the corridors of power.

If you’d like all the latest political news straight to your inbox, you can sign up to our newsletter for free at: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/newsletter

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.