Azeem Rafiq receives apology from new Yorkshire chairman

By Sports Desk November 08, 2021

Azeem Rafiq has received a public apology from new Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel for the county's handling of his racism allegations.

Patel replaced Roger Hutton as the chair of Yorkshire after the latter resigned over the club's response to the racism allegations raised by Rafiq relating to his time with the county.

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

An independent report upheld that the spinner had been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying", while it also emerged the panel deemed repeated use of a racial slur as "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo. The case will be heard in parliament later this month.

In a news conference on Thursday, Patel offered an unreserved apology.

"Azeem is a whistleblower and should be praised as such, he should never have been put through this," Patel said.

"We're sorry for what you and your family have experienced and the way in which we've handled this.

"I thank Azeem for his bravery in speaking out. Let me be clear from the outset, racism or discrimination in any form is not 'banter'."

Patel, who is commissioning a specialist independent review of the county's processes and procedures on diversity and inclusion, also confirmed a settlement with Rafiq did not include a non-disclosure agreement.

"Absolutely no restrictions have been placed on Azeem on what he can or cannot say about his experiences," Patel added.

Yorkshire's new chairman has been in contact with the ECB over restoring international fixtures to Headingley, which, prior to its suspension, was due to host a Test match against New Zealand in June 2022 and an ODI against South Africa the following month.

The stadium's sponsor, Emerald, has already withdrawn from their partnership, while kit manufacturer Nike also pulled out of their deal.

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