By: Sattwik Biswal
IF Yorkshire and the ECB fail to take “real action” in the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal then the UK government is ready to “step in”.
An investigation followed by a report found former Yorkshire player Rafiq was a vactim of “racial harassment and bullying” but the county club said it will not take disciplinary action against anyone.
Reacting to it, sports and culture minister Chris Philp said this was “unacceptable”.
“Parliament is watching, the government is watching and the country is watching,” he said.
“We expect real action and the government stands ready to step in and take action if they do not put their own house in order.”
Philp was responding to an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on Tuesday (9). He called on the rest of the Yorkshire board to resign too after chairman Roger Hutton along with two others stepped down last week.
“If there is anybody left from that regime, they should resign as well,” he said.
Philp also called for the investigation to be made public to allow the country and parliament to “fully scrutinise them” and to “restore the public’s belief” in the sport.
“The conduct of Yorkshire Cricket Club in this matter, by trying to brush it under the carpet and ignore it, is completely unacceptable,” Philp said.
“The conduct of the cricket club has no justification whatsoever, it is disgraceful, and we unreservedly condemn it.
“Where players are found to have committed acts of racism they should suffer consequences.”
In September 2020, for the first time Rafiq went public about his experiences at Yorkshire, which also left hime close to taking his own life.
Yorkshire set up an independent inquiry which a year later the club released its own summarised version of the report and said no one would be disciplined at the club involved in the racism row.
The report was criticised after it was found that a racist term about Rafiq’s heritage was repeatedly used towards him at Yorkshire but the club concluded it to be “friendly and good-natured banter”.
After Hutton resigned, Lord Patel took over, apologised to Rafiq and praised him for his “bravery” as a whistleblower.
Further details may emerge at a Department for Culture, Media and Sport hearing on 16 November.