Yorkshire fined and handed points deductions over Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

Yorkshire have been hit with points deductions in two formats and fined £400,000 over the racism scandal linked to their former player Azeem Rafiq.

A Cricket Discipline Commission panel said £300,000 of the fine imposed had been suspended for a period of two years.

The club have also immediately been docked 48 points from their County Championship total, and a further four from their tally in the T20 Blast.

Yorkshire, who had admitted four charges following the conclusion of an England and Wales Cricket Board investigation, released a statement confirming they accepted the sanctions.

The first charge Yorkshire admitted related to how they mishandled an independent investigation into the allegations of racism and bullying made by Rafiq, who played for the county between 2008 and 2014 and again between 2016 and 2018.

The second concerned a mass deletion of emails and documents, by persons unknown, which was discovered in November 2021.

The third concerned a failure to take adequate action over complaints of racism which were raised to the club in 2017 and 2018, while the fourth related to a failure to address the systemic use of racist and/or discriminatory language at Yorkshire over a prolonged period.

Yorkshire’s statement said: “We accept the sanctions against Yorkshire County Cricket Club imposed by the Cricket Discipline Commission.

“Following representations by the board at last month’s hearing, the CDC and ECB have today acknowledged the vast amount of work done by YCCC to overcome the cultural issues that existed within the club, which allowed racist and discriminatory behaviour to go unchallenged. We are accountable for these issues, and we accepted four amended charges as part of a continued commitment to ensure we are able to move forward.

“We are disappointed to receive the points deductions which affects players and staff at the club, who were not responsible for the situation. They have worked tirelessly on and off the field to rebuild Yorkshire into an inclusive and welcoming club that reflects the communities it serves. Greater clarity over our situation will allow us all now to look ahead.

“There remains much to do, but we have made significant investments to put in place best practice processes and procedures, as well as driving equity, diversity and inclusion through a new framework and taking important steps to improve the matchday experience to encourage greater inclusivity and tackle discrimination. This is in addition to the real progress we have seen on our performance pathway, ensuring young cricketers from all backgrounds can take part regardless of their economic circumstances.

“We look forward to continued dialogue with the ECB to ensure the financial penalty does not hinder our ongoing commitment to build on the strong foundations that have been laid. We remain focused on efforts to secure YCCC’s sustainability, ensuring the stability required to create a brighter future for all associated with Yorkshire Cricket.”

ECB chief executive Richard Gould added: “These were serious charges relating to racism over a prolonged period. There can be no place for racism in our game, and the penalties announced by the Cricket Discipline Commission mark the end of a thorough disciplinary process.

ECB chief executive Richard Gould promised to support Yorkshire in their progress towards becoming a more inclusive club

ECB chief executive Richard Gould promised to support the Yorkshire leadership to build on their progress since November 2021 (John Walton/PA)

“No one should have to experience what Azeem Rafiq went through in cricket, and we once again thank him for his courage in speaking out.

“Since this hearing took place, the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket has published its report which demonstrates just how much there still is for our game to do in order to stamp out discrimination and become the inclusive sport we all want to be. We must work together as a game to learn from the events that led to this case, and to respond thoroughly to that report.

“We recognise that Yorkshire County Cricket Club has made significant progress since Azeem came forward, first under Lord Patel’s leadership and since then under its current management, and is committed to becoming an inclusive club. They have set the club on a path to a much brighter and more inclusive future, and we will continue to support the new leadership at Yorkshire to build on the progress made so far.”

Six individuals with Yorkshire connections were sanctioned by the CDC earlier this year after admitting or being found to have used racist and/or discriminatory language. A seventh, former England captain Michael Vaughan, was cleared of using racist and/or discriminatory language to a group of Yorkshire players of Asian ethnicity before a 20-over match in 2009.

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