Rafiq to give evidence in parliament over Yorkshire racism allegations
Azeem Rafiq has been presented with the chance to share his experiences of racism at Yorkshire when the digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee addresses the crisis that has engulfed the club later this month.
Rafiq, 30, has been invited to give evidence in parliament as part of a session on 16 November that is also expected to see Roger Hutton, the Yorkshire chair, Mark Arthur, the chief executive, and Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket at the club, questioned by MPs.
The issue has come to a head in recent days after some details of Yorkshire’s report were made public by ESPNCricinfo. These include the allegation that a senior player repeatedly used the word “Paki”, something described as being “in the spirit of friendly banter” in the club’s summary of their investigation’s findings.
This prompted a raft of MPs to voice their disquiet, with Sajid Javid, the health secretary, tweeting that “heads should roll” at Yorkshire and Julian Knight, chair of the DCMS committee, adding: “I struggle to think of any reason why the board should remain in post.”
Rafiq is currently involved in a long-running employment tribunal case with the club over his departure in 2018, while the England and Wales Cricket Board has launched its own investigation into the matter after receiving an unredacted copy of the report last week.
The allegations first came to light in August 2020 when, in a piece looking back on his career with wisden.com, Rafiq said he admitted he wished he had done more to push back on the dressing room culture at the time.
Subsequent interviews, in which the former England Under-19s captain expanded on his experiences, prompted Yorkshire to hire the law firm Squire Patton Boggs to look into the matter. Over the next 12 months they spoke to 26 witnesses, with a summary of the findings released in September and upholding seven of Rafiq’s 43 claims.
These included the admission that the club had failed to properly escalate Rafiq’s allegations when he first raised them with Arthur, Moxon and Hanif Malik, a nonexecutive director who also serves as chair of Yorkshire Cricket’s equality and diversity committee, back in 2018.
However, last week Yorkshire announced that after an internal review of their report – something which to date remains unpublished – no actions have been taken against any current employees. This, and the subsequent revelations, prompted the DCMS committee to act and now offer Rafiq the opportunity to expand on his allegations.
Covered by parliamentary privilege, the session could see previously undisclosed names made public. With the summary of the Yorkshire report finding three separate instances of racist language being used by former players before 2010, and a former coach having used racist language prior to 2012, it could be revelatory.
By the same token, the session will also provide Hutton, Arthur and Moxon with an opportunity to present their side of events, having thus far remained publicly silent on the issue since the club’s investigation was first launched in September 2020.
Anchor Butter was the first sponsor to end their relationship with Yorkshire on Monday, having previously sponsored the first team’s shirts in the Royal London Cup, while Emerald and Tetley are understood to be reviewing their partnerships