Cricket club chair quits: Game ‘torn apart’

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The chair of Leicestershire County Cricket Club has quit with immediate effect, saying cricket has been “torn apart” by racism allegations that have ripped through the sport in recent weeks.

Mehmooda Duke, a lawyer, was due to stand down in March next year to take up her role as High Sheriff, but has decided to go early.

She was the only female chair of a first-class county and one of just three female board members from black or minority ethnic backgrounds.

Duke, the founder and CEO of Moosa-Duke Solicitors in Leicester, said: “Cricket has been torn apart by recent events and I am deeply saddened by the hurt felt by individuals within our game.

“With fresh leadership at national level and with a determination to learn from the recent past and move forward, I hope that racism and discrimination will be expunged from the dressing rooms, the fields, and the game as a whole, allowing us to celebrate the diversity which makes cricket and sport in this country so great.

“It has been a tremendous honour to be part of the impressive family which makes up LCCC. I wish all of my colleagues on the board and across the network, the players, staff and the community teams, all the very best for the future. I thank the members, supporters, and sponsors for their unwavering loyalty to the club and especially during some difficult times,” added Duke, who was made an MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List for services to the legal profession and female entrepreneurship.

Current vice chairman Jonathan Duckworth will take on the role as interim chair up until the 2022 AGM.

Duke’s early departure comes as the ECB prepare to release a plan in an attempt to learn from the sport’s racism scandal, prompted by Azeem Rafiq’s accounts of his time at Yorkshire, where he was found to be the victim of “racial harassment and bullying” during his two spells with the county by an independent report.

Rafiq gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee earlier this month where he described English cricket as “institutionally racist” from his experiences.