Yorkshire Punished For “Extremely Serious” Racism Towards Ex-Player Azeem Rafiq

Club fined 400,000 Pounds and docked championship points

Azeem Rafiq.

Hurt them where it hurts most. And for sports clubs, that is money and championship points. 

That is exactly how Yorkshire cricket club were penalized for “extremely serious” racist misconduct towards former player Azeem Rafiq.

They were fined 400,000 pounds, and lost 48 County Championship points and four in the T20 Blast from this season's competitions, as per a verdict by an independent Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) panel after admitting four charges.

Yorkshire now sink from sixth to bottom of division two in the championship. Their chances of promotion are all but gone. In the North Group of the completed 2023 Blast, they go from fifth to a lowly No. 8.

In 2020, Rafiq revealed the racism and bullying he faced during two stints at the team. The first was between 2008 and 2014 and then between 2016 and 2018. In November 2021, he gave a troubling account of his ordeal to the Culture, Media and Sport parliamentary committee.

“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,” England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Richard Gould said.

Yorkshire apologized to Rafiq in September 2021, and accepted he had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying. But in October that year the club said no individual would face disciplinary action over the report's findings.

The four charges were as follows. 

In the first, Yorkshire admitted to mishandling of response to an independent report prompted by Rafiq's allegations.

The second was in connection with what the panel found to be the “deliberate” deletion of emails relevant to the ECB investigation into Yorkshire. 

The third was its handling of racism complaints more widely and the fourth to a failure to address the “systemic use” of racist and or discriminatory language over a prolonged period, set in the panel findings as being between 2004 and 2021.

“The overall misconduct in this case must be regarded as extremely serious within both the sporting and wider societal contexts,” the CDC panel's written reasons confirming the sanctions said.

With Inputs from AP