Yorkshire CCC crisis: Graves Family trustees 'vetoed sackings of Mark Arthur and Martyn Moxon'

Trustees owed almost £15m by Yorkshire County Cricket Club prevented the sackings of chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon, former chairman Roger Hutton has claimed.

The trusts, linked to the family of former ECB and Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves, are overseen by trustees who have a veto on board appointments and dismissals at the club.

Mr Hutton said he “would have liked to removed” Mr Arthur and Mr Moxon from their posts over their response to the racism crisis, but failed to receive support from trustees for such action.

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He said: “One of my difficulties as chair is I can’t remove a director from the board without the consent of the Colin Graves Trust. I spoke to his trustees

Trusts linked to the family of former Yorkshire and ECB chairman Colin Graves are owed almost £15m by Yorkshire.

and it was made clear to me they were supportive of people in the club that I felt were partly to blame.

“I would have like to have removed Mark Arthur and Martyn Moxon not because of the conduct referred to in the report but as a consequence of their failure to understand the gravity of the situation, their failure to apologise and particularly their failure to move on the recommendations.

“I would like to have removed those two people. I also thought the head of HR should have been removed.”

When asked by committee chair Julian Knight whether the trustees were a “pernicious element” within Yorkshire CCC, Mr Hutton replied: “The club owes a substantial amount to the Colin Graves Trust. Without that investment, the club would have been in major difficulties.

“I do think on balance it is wrong that a major creditor at that level has the keys to decisions a board should or shouldn’t make.”

However, newly-appointed chairman Lord Patel – who was given the ‘unequivocal’ backing of the trustees when he was appointed – gave a different view and said it was the responsibility of the chair to make the case for the removal of anyone they considered to be bringing the club into disrepute.

“I have only met one of the trustees on Zoom a couple of times,” he said.

“I found the person to be very receptive, very reasonable, very understanding.

“The person from the trustees was completely independent, they were looking at the finances, they were looking at the way forward.”

Mr Arthur resigned last week with immediate effect and did not attend the hearing as had been requested by MPs, while Mr Moxon is currently on stress-related sick leave from work.

Mr Hutton said of the pair’s absence from the hearing: “They have found this whole process very difficult. They have failed in my view to accept the gravity of the situation, they have not wanted to apologise and have not wanted to take the recommendations of the panel going forward.”

Mr Hutton said Mr Arthur had “asked whether we could abandon the investigation” into Azeem Rafiq’s allegations and had also blocked the employment tribunal with Mr Rafiq from being settled earlier.

“In June 2021 there was an employment tribunal. The non-executives and I were anxious that employment tribunal was settled. At that stage, the CEO made it clear he did not want to apologise to Azeem Rafiq.

“At an early stage I suggested Azeem Rafiq may be part of the process of healing and reconciliation and I was told he wouldn’t be welcome.

“The biggest issues came to light after the report was produced on August 17 when there was a clear resistance to seeing Azeem as the victim and a clear resistance to apologise and a failure to look at the recommendations the panel had put forward and start executing them.

“I saw resistance and the resistance accumulated.

“I believed the club’s culture was stuck in the past. I didn’t see my resigning would be the way of changing that culture.

Later in the hearing, Mr Knight said Mr Hutton’s evidence had suggested the trustees had been a “roadblock to reform” and the current situation with their board veto appeared to be “desperately unhealthy”.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said the issue of their involvement with Yorkshire CCC board decisions will be part of a governance review of the club.

He agreed with Mr Knight that the situation was “a potentially major problem”.

The Graves Family trustees did not wish to comment.

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