Yorkshire CCC make statement on Azeem Rafiq
Any allegation of this nature is hugely concerning to everyone from the board to the playing staff here, and we take the reports very seriously.
On Monday this week the club took the decision to launch a formal investigation into the specific allegations made by Azeem Rafiq, and a wider review of YCCC’s policies and culture. We are in the process of finalising the structure of this investigation and we will be approaching impartial external parties to be part of the review to ensure complete transparency. Further announcements will be made to detail this process in the coming days.
We fully acknowledge that just as in many walks of life, sport, including cricket and Yorkshire as a club, must do better to fully promote a culture of zero tolerance to racism or any form of prejudice. We accepted a long time ago that change was needed at Headingley to improve diversity, especially in terms of racial inclusivity. Since 2014 we’ve prioritised community engagement with numerous groups right across the county, and across many cultures and ethnicities. While as an organisation we’ve made real efforts to that end, we are not perfect and it’s a work in progress.
As a player and former captain, Azeem was extremely highly respected and well regarded by the club and its supporters alike. Azeem was a gifted bowler and a respected leader of our team, and that was why he became the first British South Asian captain of the Yorkshire T20 side, and the youngest ever captain of the team.
We have tried to make contact with Azeem this week to discuss his experiences, and will make further contact in the weeks ahead as it’s important that we hear his grievances in as much detail as possible.
The future direction of our organisation’s culture will be best-shaped with the understanding and the input of players, staff and supporters from all minorities and genders, and we will continue this process with the formal investigation that will start in a matter of days and be conducted thoroughly, impartially, and with urgency.