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The stadium's sponsor, Emerald, has already withdrawn from their partnership, while kit manufacturer Nike also pulled out of their deal.

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.

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

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.

An independent report into Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire upheld that the spinner had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying".

It also emerged the independent panel had deemed repeated use of the "P***" word against Rafiq was "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo.

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 that warranted disciplinary action.

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.

The governing body stated Yorkshire's "failure in relation to actions and responses to their own report represent a significant breach of its obligations to the game."

England are scheduled to face New Zealand in a Test and an ODI against South Africa at Headingley next year, while the Leeds venue is also due to host an Ashes Test in 2023, but may lose all three.

An ECB statement said: "It is clear to the Board that YCCC's handling of the issues raised by Azeem Rafiq is wholly unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game. The ECB find this matter abhorrent and against the spirit of cricket and its values.

"There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination in cricket and where it is found, swift action must be taken. This matter must be dealt with robustly if the sport is to demonstrate its commitment to truly being a game for everyone.

"As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB Board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game."

The statement continued "It [the board] also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.

"In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County.

"The ECB Board has asked the ECB Executive to commission a review of Yorkshire CCC's governance to consider whether the existing arrangements are fit for purpose.

"The regulatory processes already underway into the allegations brought by Azeem Rafiq will ultimately be determined by an independent tribunal (The Cricket Disciplinary Committee).

"Before any regulatory investigation is complete, the Board wishes to take immediate action in relation to Gary Ballance. While Mr Ballance has not been selected to play for England since 2017, he will be suspended indefinitely from selection. This position will be reviewed following the ECB regulatory investigation into his conduct."

Rafiq stated earlier on Thursday that cricket desperately needs "reform and cultural change".

"I'm not intending to say very much until the [Department for Culture, Media and Sport's] select committee hearing later this month. However, I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals," he tweeted.

"This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change."

Rafiq and Yorkshire chairman Roger 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.

Azeem Rafiq says cricket desperately needs "reform and cultural change" after Gary Ballance admitted using a racial slur towards his former Yorkshire team-mate.

Ex-England batsman Ballance on Wednesday released a statement admitting he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to during his time at Headingley.

Ballance, 31, said he deeply regrets some of the language he used in his younger years, describing Rafiq as his "best mate in cricket".

The Zimbabwe-born former Yorkshire captain claimed he and Rafiq had "said offensive things to each other which, outside of that context, would be considered wholly inappropriate".

An independent report into Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club upheld that the spinner had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying”.

It also emerged the independent panel had deemed repeated use of the "P***" word against Rafiq was "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo.

Rafiq on Thursday responded to Ballance's statement by posting on Twitter: "I'm not intending to say very much until the [Department for Culture, Media and Sport's] select committee hearing later this month. However, I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals.

"This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change."

Rafiq and Yorkshire chairman Roger 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 has been among the sponsors Yorkshire have lost due to their handling of the Rafiq case.

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