In an interesting series of events English county club Yorkshire apologised to former England U-19 skipper Azeem Rafiq for throwing racial charges against him. In a recent interview, Rafiq spoke about how he was racially abused by the club while his stay with the club and how they made him feel like an outsider. The spinner played with the club from 2008-2018.
Accusing Yorkshire of being institutionally racist, the 29-year-old said his reports were ignored by the club at the time. However, Rafiq dismissed the statement as a fudge and accused the club of trying to play down his suffering by not mentioning racism in their apology.
“There were many allegations made against the club, most of which relate to a period more than 10 years ago. Many of the allegations were not upheld and for others there was insufficient evidence for the panel to make a determination” Yorkshire said in a statement.
“It is right, however, to acknowledge from the outset that several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that sadly, historically, Azeem was the victim of inappropriate behavior,the statement continued, referring to the investigation’s findings. This is clearly unacceptable. We would like to express our profound apologies for this.”
Azeem Rafiq Played Alongside Joe Root at Yorkshire
While Yorkshire the team of England Test captain Joe Root stopped short of acknowledging Rafiq had suffered racial abuse, chairman Roger Hutton said the report can be the catalyst for important changes at the club.
“I would like to acknowledge Azeem’s courage in raising these issues and his participation in the investigation, which I understand must have been very difficult, Hutton said. I would also like to express my sincere apology to him for certain failings by the club, which have been highlighted by the panel. He has very obviously experienced some difficult and distressing times during the time since 2008 and the club could, and should, have supported him better.”
“Since I joined the board in 2020,” he continued, “it has become obvious to me that both prior to and since, it has continually tried to improve its relationship with diverse communities. It has however not progressed far enough, particularly as we learn to see the world from fresh eyes, and I consider that this report will be a platform for further important changes at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”