Report finds ex-Yorkshire county cricket player suffered racial harassment

Former Yorkshire County Cricket Club player, Azeem Rafiq, was the “victim of racial harassment and bullying,” according to findings in a report by the club.

Last year, Rafiq, said he had suffered “institutional racism” at the club. Seven of the 43 allegations made by the player have been upheld by an independent panel.

Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton has now offered the club’s “profound and unreserved apologies” to Rafiq and his family.

In a statement to the BBC this morning, Hutton said: “There is no question that Azeem Rafiq, during his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment. He was also subsequently the victim of bullying.”

Yorkshire has released a summary of the panel’s report and recommendations. But it says the full report cannot be issued for legal reasons related to privacy law and defamation.

According to Hutton, the report said there was “insufficient evidence to conclude that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is institutionally racist.”

Today’s statement from the club has already provoked a sharp response from Rafiq.

A spokesman for the former cricketer, commenting via Rafiq’s Twitter account, said: “We must highlight the atrocious way this process continues to be handled.

“Azeem was not given any notice of this morning’s statement – he received a copy only minutes before the media.

“Azeem and his team are not in a position to properly understand the club’s conclusions and how they reached them, because Yorkshire has not provided a copy of the report.

“This is clearly unacceptable and an abuse of process.

“What is clear is that Yorkshire County Cricket Club admits racism and bullying has taken place on many occasions, yet won’t accept the obvious – that this is an institutional problem.”

Following Rafiq’s initial allegations in September 2020, the club launched an independent investigation carried out by law firm Squire Patton Boggs.

Yorkshire, who received the findings on 13 August this year, subsequently said Rafiq had been “the victim of inappropriate behaviour” and offered him their “profound apologies.”

Rafiq hit back at this statement, arguing that its description of “inappropriate behaviour” amounted to downplaying racism.