June 7, 2023

The ECB disciplinary hearing into allegations of racism at Yorkshire is set to be postponed until the new year, following a series of appeals against a controversial ruling that the case should be heard in public.

The Cricket Discipline Commisson (CDC) had been set to convene on November 28, with seven individuals as well as Yorkshire CCC itself all charged with offences, in the wake of allegations made by the club’s former player, Azeem Rafiq.
Rafiq himself is one of those seven, following a series of historic anti-Semitic comments on Facebook, but it was his request for greater transparency that led the CDC to break with precedent, with previous cases held behind closed doors before written judgements were handed down.
Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, is among those facing charges, following Rafiq’s allegations that he had told a group of Asian Yorkshire players in 2009 that “there are too many of you lot” and “we need to do something about it”.

Last week, the Telegraph, the newspaper for which Vaughan writes a column, reported that Vaughan himself was “happy for the proceedings to be held in public”.

Others, however, are reportedly less keen, among them, the newspaper added, the former Yorkshire and England fast bowler, Matthew Hoggard. According to Rafiq’s testimony before MPs at the DCMS hearings in November 2021, Hoggard had rung the player to apologise for his behaviour during their shared time at the club, with Rafiq subsequently telling the panel that “all I ever wanted was an apology”.
Andrew Gale, Yorkshire’s former captain and head coach, and another of the charged players, has already stated that he will take no part in what he described as a “tainted process”, after walking away from the sport earlier this year, while Roger Hutton, the club’s former chairman, also announced this week that he will not attend the hearings.

Hutton, who was one of the few Yorkshire administrators, past or present, to attend last year’s DCMS hearings, was similarly critical of the decision to make the proceedings public, stating: “I simply do not have confidence in the ECB, its governance or its agenda and who notably escape all scrutiny themselves.”

In a statement, the ECB said: “Appeals have been filed by a number of the respondents in relation to the decisions of the CDC panel following the preliminary issues hearing last month. The appeals now need to be heard and therefore the full CDC hearing into the ECB’s charges against Yorkshire CCC and a number of individuals will no longer start on November 28. That hearing is now expected to take place in early 2023.”

The prospect of a postponement gives rise to the possibility that Adil Rashid, England’s T20 World Cup-winning legspinner, could now attend the hearings in person, having previously stated that he would be out of the country, at the Abu Dhabi T10s and a subsequent family holiday, during the original hearing date.
Rashid, who was in Yorkshire’s team at the time of Vaughan’s alleged comments, at Trent Bridge in 2009, previously corroborated Rafiq’s version of events, as did Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, the former Pakistan international who was then one of the club’s overseas players.

Rafiq, who is also due to attend a follow-up DCMS select committee hearing on December 13, was this week accused of two counts of indecent exposure during his time at Yorkshire, in court documents relating to a lawsuit from the former club physiotherapist, Wayne Morton, who was sacked last year in a mass purge of the back-room staff.

A spokesperson for Rafiq, who has since left the country for an indefinite period following threats against his family, said: “People who have been desperate for the sport to retain its toxic culture have spread numerous variations of these false allegations since Azeem spoke at the select committee last year.

“Every time they have been shown to be incorrect and falsified, details always changing. This twisted campaign of lies has been never ending and it has seriously compromised Azeem’s and his family’s safety, which is why he has left the country.

“This level of lies and vengeance only proves the sport is not ready to change and why whistle-blowers need proper protection.”

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