Yorkshire club penalised over Pakistan-born Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

Yorkshire club penalised over Pakistan-born Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

A video grab shows former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq testifying in front of a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee in London. — AFP/File

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club were penalised by the independent Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) on Friday over Pakistan-born Azeem Rafiq’s racism scandal.

The club were slapped with a huge 48-point deduction in the English County Championship and also fined the club £400,000 ($514,000), £300,000 of which is suspended for two years.

The points penalty sends Yorkshire to the bottom of Division Two of the County Championship.

Pakistan-born bowler Rafiq, 32, went public with allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to his two spells in the English county.

The Yorkshire board issued a statement accepting the sanctions.

“The CDC and ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) 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,” it said.

“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.”

But the Yorkshire board added: “We are disappointed to receive the point deductions which affects players and staff at the club, who were not responsible for the situation.”

ECB chief executive Richard Gould, who was not in post during the Rafiq scandal, said: “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.

“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.”

Six former Yorkshire players were previously fined by the CDC after being found guilty of using racist language.

Separately, a damning report by the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) last month revealed “widespread” racism, sexism and classism in English cricket.

The ICEC was established in 2021 following the racism scandal surrounding the treatment of Rafiq.

— With additional input from AFP

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