Azeem Rafiq affair: Members turn up heat on Roger Hutton and Yorkshire CCC over handling of racism storm

YORKSHIRE’s members’ committee has added its voice to the deafening chorus of disapproval at the way that the club is handling the Azeem Rafiq racism case.

Azeem Rafiq is still waiting for answers (Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

Read More

Read More
Yorkshire chairman called to face MPs over handling of Azeem Rafiq racism claims

The organisation is writing to the club’s board to express its dissatisfaction at the way that the crisis is being managed after the former player raised his concerns in August last year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The Yorkshire Post understands that there will be a board meeting in the coming days, with chairman Roger Hutton – who has led the club’s response – coming under increasing pressure for his handling of the matter.

Yorkshire have been widely criticised for their handling of the Rafiq affair (Picture: SWPix.com)

Hutton is set to be called before parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee to answer for the club’s actions in a dramatic escalation of the ongoing debacle, with health secretary Sajid Javid insisting that “heads should roll”.

Yorkshire – who have not given a single interview on the gravest crisis in the club’s 158-year history, just a succession of inadequate statements issued through Hutton – apologised to Rafiq in September after an independent investigation upheld seven of the 43 allegations made by the former spin bowler relating to his two spells at the club between 2002-14 and 2016-18.

In what may yet come to be viewed as a model of how not to manage a complex and sensitive issue effectively and transparently, emotions are running high and Graeme Greenfield, the chair of the club’s members’ committee, echoed the prevailing public mood.

“We, as a members’ committee, will be raising our concerns to the board at the manner in which the whole process has been dealt with,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

Azeem Rafiq played for Yorkshire across two spells (Picture: SWPix.com)

“The process has been handled, particularly from a PR point of view, not very well at all and the club has been on the back foot from the word go, not really getting on the front foot at any point in proceedings.

“The Yorkshire members are not happy and they’re frustrated. It’s gone on too long and it needs sorting out.”

After further details emerged from the independent report, which condemned racist language used towards Rafiq in the dressing room while at the same time describing it as “banter” and the player’s evidence as not “wholly credible”, Greenfield said that he had raised concerns verbally to no avail.

Yorkshire have only released a summary of the report’s findings, which did not uphold Rafiq’s central allegations that they are institutionally racist, or that his release in 2018 was motivated by race as opposed to cricketing reasons, and they insist that they cannot disclose the full report due to legal reasons – naming, as it does, former players and coaches in what was not a judicial process.

Yorkshire also procrastinated over handing a copy of the full report to the England and Wales Cricket Board, which received it last week and is promising to investigate “as quickly as possible”. The governing body has secured the services of a QC and “other external investigatory support”. Greenfield said: “I have spoken verbally to people (at the club), and the response was ‘we need to wait for the report’, so the members’ committee has basically been told the same line as everybody else.

“The ECB wanted the report and it didn’t seem to be sent to them on time – again, I’m only going on what I’ve read – and all they’ve done by not sending it to the ECB on a specific date is given the impression that Yorkshire are hiding something.

“We can’t bypass the way it’s been dealt with and, as I say, it needs sorting.”

Some Yorkshire members have raised on social media the possibility of trying to force an extaordinary general meeting, for which 400 signatures are needed.