Former Yorkshire cricketer Azim Rafiq will appear before British MPs on Tuesday and will be given a chance to describe his experiences of discrimination at a club engulfed in a racism scandal. An independent report found that the Pakistan-born player was the victim of “racial harassment and bullying”, while Rafiq himself said that he had suicidal thoughts about the way he was treated. Although the county apologized, they said they would not take any disciplinary action against any of the employees – a decision that was met with disbelief in several quarters.
Pakistan-born Rafiq, 30, will on Tuesday give evidence to lawmakers in the Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) without fear of repercussions under parliamentary privilege.
Azeem on Monday tweeted a short video with the message: “Time for the truth!!”
— azeem rafiq (@azeem rafiq30) November 15, 2021
The fallout for Yorkshire – one of England’s most successful and historic clubs – has been swift and disastrous.
The sponsors have withdrawn and the club has been suspended from hosting lucrative international matches.
Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton stepped down earlier this month and chief executive Mark Arthur followed him through the exit door as Headingley struggled with the fallout from the club’s crisis.
Subsequent allegations of racism have been made by other players, prompting additional investigations into Yorkshire and other clubs as the scandal spreads.
During the session, Hutton will testify with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison.
On Monday, current England spinner Adil Rashid joined former Pakistan Test player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, accusing former England Test captain Michael Vaughan in 2009 in front of a group of Yorkshire players of Asian ethnicity. Said: “So many of you guys, we need to do something about it.”
Vaughan again declined to comment “obviously”.
“Facing this allegation 11 years after it happened is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced,” he said in a statement.
Yorkshire player Rashid, who released a statement on Monday via The Cricketer website, said the “cancer” of racism should be stamped out.
“I am encouraged by the fact that a parliamentary committee is trying to rectify the situation, whether it is holding people accountable or making changes at the institutional level,” he said.
New Yorkshire President Kamlesh Patel welcomed Rashid’s “courage to speak” and said he would listen with great interest to the DCMS committee hearings.
“It is true that the issues which were initially raised by Azim Rafiq and the manner in which they were handled, are properly examined by the committee,” he said.
“We have provided a copy of the full report to the committee in view of the legal interest in the matter.”
On Monday afternoon it was still unclear who on the Yorkshire leadership team would give evidence to MPs.
Former chairman Hutton was listed to speak at 1015 GMT, followed by Rafiq at 0930 GMT.
Committee chairman Julian Knight took no punches earlier this month, saying the Yorkshire scandal was “one of the most repulsive and disturbing episodes in modern cricket history”.
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