Ex-skipper Rafiq claims ‘racist’ abuse in Yorkshire career

Published November 15, 2020
Former Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq went public on Friday with details of the racist abuse he said he suffered during his time at Headingley.— Photo courtesy espncricinfo.com
Former Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq went public on Friday with details of the racist abuse he said he suffered during his time at Headingley.— Photo courtesy espncricinfo.com

LONDON: Former Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq went public on Friday with details of the racist abuse he said he suffered during his time at Headingley.

Prior to making a verbal submission to an investigation into institutional racism at one of English cricket’s leading county clubs — an inquiry set up in response to his previous allegations — Rafiq issued a detailed statement via his lawyers on Friday.

The statement included complaints of non-white players being called “Pakis” and “elephant washers”, as well as being told to “go back to where you came from.”

Rafiq also made allegations that a “drinking culture” at the club worked aga­inst Muslim cricketers whose religion prohibits them from consuming alcohol.

The 29-year-old Rafiq, once the youngest captain in Yorkshire’s history, had previously described how his experiences had left him feeling suicidal and led to his early exit from the professional game.

“I have spoken out about the racism I faced because I don’t want kids to go through what I did,” Rafiq said on Friday.

“I want to see kids starting off their journey in cricket in a culture of acceptance and respect, where they are judged on their talent and not on their culture and identity.

“I hope that the investigation will result in meaningful change at the club and in the sport.”

Yorkshire replied with a statement of their own.

“We have taken the claims made by our former player, Azeem Rafiq, very seriously and a full investigation conducted by an independent law firm, began in September,” the statement said.

“We realise that that this is a difficult time for all parties involved but it is important that these matters are investigated thoroughly and swiftly.

“Racism has no place in our society or in cricket and we are hopeful that the outcome of this investigation and the recommendations of the panel will drive positive progress which can be shared by all,” the Yorkshire statement added.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2020

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