Hutton resigns as Yorkshire chairman over Rafiq racism case and takes ECB swipe

By Sports Desk November 05, 2021

Roger Hutton has resigned as Yorkshire chairman over the club's response to the racism Azeem Rafiq was subjected to during his time with the county.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday suspended Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in response to the club's "wholly unacceptable" handling of Rafiq's racism allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire.

An independent report upheld that the spinner had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying".

Yorkshire last week stated that the club had carried out their own internal investigation following the findings of the report and concluded no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives warranted disciplinary measures.

Hutton quit on Friday after coming under increasing pressure and apologised unreservedly to Rafiq, stating the club should have recognised at the time the serious allegations of racism.

The departing chairman, who joined the club in April 2020 after spinner Azeem had departed, says he experienced a "culture that refuses to accept change or challenge" during his time at the club.

Hutton revealed other non-executive board members have also resigned and he called on executive members of the board to quit ahead of an emergency board meeting at Yorkshire on Friday.

He said in a statement released to ESPNcricinfo: "For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge.

"There has been a constant unwillingness from the executive members of the board and senior management at the club to apologise and to accept racism and to look forward

"Non-executive members of the board, some of whom have also now resigned. I now call for those executive members of the board to resign, to make way for a new path for the club I love so much.

"I am sorry that we could not persuade executive members of the Board to recognise the gravity of the situation and show care and contrition. I remain disappointed that legal restrictions, including an ongoing employment tribunal, have prevented the investigation report from being published and look forward to the time that everyone can see its recommendations. I hope for it to be published as soon as possible.

"Azeem left the club in August 2018, 18 months before I joined. I have never met Azeem. I know however, that when someone makes claims as serious as his, they need to be investigated and changes need to be made. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Azeem. The club should have recognised at the time the serious allegations of racism."

Hutton also took aim at the ECB, claiming the governing body failed to support Yorkshire with their handling of the matter.

"I want to be clear that when I was made aware of Azeem Rafiq's allegations, I immediately reached out to the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry,

"I was saddened when they declined to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance for the game as a whole. It is a matter of record that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB's reluctance to act."

Gary Ballance has also been indefinitely suspended from international selection after the former England batsman admitted he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to when they were Yorkshire team-mates.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Thursday revealed he was named in Yorkshire's Rafiq report but "totally denies any allegation of racism".

The ECB board met on Thursday and has vowed to hold Yorkshire to account, ordering the club to deal with the matter "robustly", stating it is clear there are "serious questions" regarding the governance and management of the club.

Rafiq and Hutton are due to appear in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's select committee to give evidence on November 16.

Publishing company Emerald and Nike are among the sponsors Yorkshire have lost due to their handling of the Rafiq case.

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