No question that Azeem Rafiq was the victim of racial harassment – Roger Hutton

England’s Yorkshire club have restated their stance that they are unable to publish the independent report into Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of racism at the club, due to issues “in relation to privacy law and defamation”, following parliamentary pressure to release its findings.

Yorkshire distributed a summary of the report and its recommendations on Friday morning, which detailed seven incidents of racial harassment and bullying of Rafiq that were upheld by the investigation. Last month, the club issued an apology to Rafiq, saying he had been “the victim of inappropriate behaviour”.

A spokesperson for Rafiq criticised Yorkshire’s “atrocious” handling of the investigation and said failure to hand over a copy of the report was “an abuse of process”.

“We note that Yorkshire County Cricket Club has confirmed Azeem was the victim of racism and bullying during his two spells at Headingley,” the spokesperson said. “However, we must highlight the atrocious way this process continues to be handled. Azeem was not given any notice of this morning’s statement – he received a copy only a couple of minutes before the media.

“Azeem and his team are not in a position to properly understand the club’s conclusions and how they reached them, because Yorkshire has not provided a copy of the report. This is clearly unacceptable and an abuse of process.
What is clear is that Yorkshire County Cricket Club admits racism and bullying has taken place on many occasions, yet won’t accept the obvious – that this is an institutional problem.
“We also note that Baroness Morgan, the former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has written to Yorkshire County Cricket Club in recent days demanding that Azeem see a full copy of the report. We further note the letter to Yorkshire from Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, on Wednesday. We welcome their interventions. We will provide a fuller statement in the coming days.”
Ian Watmore, the ECB chairman, said:No one should have to experience racism or discrimination in cricket, and it is very concerning that the independent panel has upheld a number of allegations and concluded that historically Azeem Rafiq was the victim of racial harassment and of bullying during his time at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
“It is clear that the game owes him an apology and we are happy to offer that apology to him. There is simply no place for racism in cricket, and what Azeem experienced was unacceptable. The ECB has only seen the statement and summary report for the first time today, so we will now examine the contents in detail to decide what further action is required.”


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