YORKSHIRE chief executive Mark Arthur has resigned with immediate effect in the latest fallout from the allegations of institutional racism made by former player Azeem Rafiq, the club said in a statement on Thursday (11).
The club have appointed Paul Hudson as interim chief executive.
“Today (11 November) the Board at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has accepted the resignation of Mark Arthur as CEO. We thank him for his tenure,” said Yorkshire chairman Kamlesh Patel.
“This is an important moment for the club which is ready to move forward with new leadership, which will be vital in driving the change we urgently need.”
“We know there is still much work to be done and more difficult decisions to be made. We need to rebuild the trust of the fans, the cricketing world and the public”.
Arthur added: “I’ve had eight fantastic years at The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, working alongside an outstanding group of people, and together achieving many highlights.”
Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent and a former captain of the England Under-19s, last year said he was made to feel like an outsider at Yorkshire and contemplated taking his own life.
He had called for the resignations of Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon after reaching an employment tribunal settlement with the club this week.
Yorkshire said on Tuesday that Moxon was absent from work due to a “stress-related illness”, while head coach Andrew Gale had been suspended for an alleged anti-Semitic tweet he sent in 2010.
The Yorkshire investigation into Rafiq’s claims reportedly found that a derogatory term used about his Pakistani heritage was regularly used but concluded it was “good-natured banter”.
The report led to club chair Roger Hutton stepping down and being replaced by Patel.
Patel apologised to Rafiq this week for the county’s handling of his racism allegations and promised “seismic change”.
“Azeem is a whistleblower and should be praised as such. He should never have been put through this,” Patel said.
“We’re sorry for what you and your family have experienced and the way in which we’ve handled this. I thank Azeem for his bravery in speaking out. Let me be clear from the outset, racism or discrimination in any form is not banter.”
Yorkshire have been barred from hosting internationals by the England and Wales Cricket Board and have lost a number of sponsors ever since the controversy broke out.