Yorkshire apologise to Azeem Rafiq who was ‘victim of inappropriate behaviour’

Yorkshire have apologised to Azeem Rafiq after accepting their former off-spinner was the “victim of inappropriate behaviour” during his time at the club.

An independent investigation, commissioned by Yorkshire last year after Rafiq claimed he was left feeling suicidal following his experiences of institutional racism during his time with the White Rose, has returned a final report together with a set of recommendations.

Yorkshire said in a statement: “There were many allegations made against the club most of which relate to a period more than 10 years ago. Many of the allegations were not upheld and for others there was insufficient evidence for the panel to make a determination.

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“It is right, however, to acknowledge from the outset that several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that sadly, historically, Azeem was the victim of inappropriate behaviour. This is clearly unacceptable. We would like to express our profound apologies for this.”

While Yorkshire stopped short of any admittance of Rafiq’s claim he had suffered racial abuse, chairman Roger Hutton believes the report can be the catalyst for “important changes” at the club.

He said: “I would like to acknowledge Azeem’s courage in raising these issues, and his participation in the investigation, which I understand must have been very difficult. I would also like to express my sincere apology to him for certain failings by the club, which have been highlighted by the panel.

“He has very obviously experienced some difficult and distressing times during the time since 2008 and the club could, and should, have supported him better.

“Since I joined the board in 2020, it has become obvious to me that both prior to and since, it has continually tried to improve its relationship with diverse communities.

“It has however not progressed far enough, particularly as we learn to see the world from fresh eyes, and I consider that this report will be a platform for further important changes at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”