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England’s Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) is no more eligible to host major or international matches for poorly handling the racial accusations by Pakistan’s former cricketer, Azeem Rafiq.
The Club has yielded a considerable setback after big sponsors, including Nike, have cut off their partnership following Rafiq’s declarations of racism.
The scandal of England’s one of the historic cricket clubs portrays multiple gossips as one after one Asian reporting racial remarks against Yorkshire. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), after a proper investigation, was left with no option but to ban calling the synopsis ‘unacceptable’ that is ‘causing damage to the reputation of the game.’
Amidst too many stories, Green Team has concluded what exactly happened and what is Azeem Rafiq report.
Who is Azeem Rafiq in terms of Yorkshire cricket?
In June 2012, Azeem Rafiq of Pakistan became the first from the nation, of Asian origin, and the youngest to captain the club in a senior game. However he made his first debut for the Club back in 2008, but it is assumed that he was not properly registered and did not have a British Passport. It made him ineligible to play for the Club.
What happened to Azeem Rafiq at Yorkshire, according to him?
The 30-year old says that he was left near to suicide after the racist comments bashing at him. He first opened up on the plot in 2020, but the fallout progressed this week as social media is full of Azeem Rafiq-Yorkshire stories.
While talking to the media, he disclosed Yorkshire’s institutional racism that forced him to take his own life. He further revealed that he anticipated every second with fear following his mates’ racially-offensive terms for him due to his Muslim and Pakistani heritage.
What Yorkshire did in response?
The Club launched a formal investigation case filed by Rafiq in September 2020. Roger Hutton, the chairman, stated that the Club as a whole would carry out a comprehensive review of policies and culture. Consequently, law firm Squire Patton Boggs was hired to carry out the detailed investigation.
What and when were investigations concluded?
Initially, YCCC responded in August 2021 and said the case findings would be on-screened in the next few days. The ECB, two days later, wrote a letter to the Club asking for a copy of those findings.
With ECB and media still anticipating those copies and the Yorkshire club failing to provide them, the Club had no option but to accept the allegations. It admitted Rafiq was the victim of harassment, racial abuse and apologized sincerely.
Yorkshire released their own summary and said the original documentations could not be shared for legal purposes. It said that there was inadequate data to conclude. Notably, seven of the 43 assertions made by the player were upheld by the independent panel.
Have a look:
The seven allegations upheld were:
- When Rafiq was playing junior cricket for Yorkshire, he was not provided with halal food. This has now been amended.
- [Relating to the period before 2010], the panel found that there were three separate occurrences of racist language being used by former players, which were found to be harassment on the grounds of caste.
- Before 2012 a former coach regularly used discriminatory language.
- During his second spell at Yorkshire between 2016 and 2018, jokes were made around religion, which made people agonize about their religious traditions.
- During his second spell at the Club, a former player referred to Azeem Rafiq’s weight and fitness equivalent to bullying and harassment.
- In August 2018, when Azeem Rafiq mounted concerns of racism, the Club served the lemons to follow its own policy or examine these allegations.
- On several events before 2018, the Club could have done more to make Muslims more welcome within their stadiums and should have dealt better with racist or anti-social behavior objections inside those ballparks.
What’s hot this week about the Rafiq-Yorkshire report?
The story sought wider attention after Gary Ballance accepted the racial comments. Ironically, he termed these comments as a friendly banter among the two, himself and the victim. Following the racial allegations, he says his use of “P**I” was considered ridiculed as Azeem had been his closest friend then. Ballance, however, profoundly regrets his words.
“It has been reported that I used a racial slur and, as I told the independent inquiry, I accept that I did so, and I regret doing so. To be clear – I deeply regret some of the languages I used in my younger years.”
In reply, after the ECB and co-held a meeting, the strong response is giving massive blows to Yorkshire Club “until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected.”
On the other hand, the former Yorkshire skipper, Michael Vaughan, however, has accepted his name in Rafiq’s accuses but vehemently denies the claims.
In his column, he wrote that although his name appears in Azeem Rafiq’s report following harassment, bullying, discrimination, and similar factors, he categorically denied uttering any of such vocabs.
“I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words. I have been involved in cricket for 30 years and never once been accused of any remotely similar incident or disciplinary offense as a player or commentator.
“I have nothing to hide. The ‘you lot’ comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said ten years ago will be fallible, but I am adamant those words were not used.
“If Rafiq believes something was said at the time to upset him, then that is what he believes. It is difficult to comment on that except to say it hurts me hugely to think I potentially affected someone. I take it as the most serious allegation ever put in front of me, and I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person.”
As the dramatic development was not enough, the CCC Chairman, Roger Hutton, announced his retirement, apologizing unreservedly, saying he has “experienced a culture that rejects to accept change or challenge” at the cricket club.
He has criticized ECB for not acting on time and being reluctant to the matter. He says that he on-time reported the case to the board.
Notably, not only one, but many from all across the globe, are coming in defense of the Pakistani player. Many people are sharing the same experience with Yorkshire and even have witnessed Azeem undergoing it.
What Azeem Rafiq says now?
The player says it is not about individuals but about institutional racism. He believes the Yorkshire Club needs desperate reforms and cultural changes.
What can we expect?
Friday’s meeting among the specific and relevant group of people is expected to witness a couple of more resignations from the YCCC.
Further details will be enlightened as Azeem Rafiq, the chairman, the officials, the CEO, and the director will be queried by the MPs. All of them have been called to attend the DCMS committee hearing on 16th November.
It is pertinent to mention that ECB has every right to announce further financial sanctions and future allocations by the end of the investigation.