Yorkshire ‘tried to release Azeem Rafiq while he was on leave after the stillbirth of his son’


Yorkshire are facing fresh claims amid the club’s racism scandal that they ‘tried to release Azeem Rafiq while he was on compassionate leave after the stillbirth of his son’

  •  Yorkshire reportedly tried to release Azeem Rafiq while on compassionate leave
  • The report into racism at the county states the club brought forward his release  
  • It comes in the aftermath of Rafiq’s racism allegations against Yorkshire

Yorkshire were facing claims that they attempted to release Azeem Rafiq while he was on compassionate leave after the stillbirth of his son on Wednesday.

The report into racism at the county states that the club brought forward former off-spinner Rafiq’s release from his contract ‘to coincide with this leave’. 

It also states that Yorkshire bosses Martyn Moxon and Mark Arthur were ‘dismissive’ of his claims, despite warnings this would leave him feeling suicidal, according to the Daily Telegraph. 

Yorkshire CCC face claims that they attempted to release Azeem Rafiq while he was on compassionate leave following the stillbirth of his son

Rafiq, now 30, finally received a six-figure settlement from the club this week, with director of cricket Moxon and chief executive Arthur expected to leave their roles in the wake of the scandal.

In extracts from the report, club officials were warned three times about Rafiq’s claims in August 2018, the same month he left for Pakistan on leave after his son was stillborn. 

The report states that ‘the club chose to bring forward the decision to release him from his contract to coincide with this leave’. It also finds ‘the club failed to act in a manner required under its own policies or in a manner consistent with the spirit and intention of those policies.

‘The panel go further and accept (and find) that Moxon and Arthur were dismissive of the concerns of race discrimination raised by Rafiq.’

Director of cricket Moxon Moxon will not give evidence to MPs investigating the racism scandal because of ill health

Yorkshire chief executive Arthur was said to be dismissive of Rafiq's claims along with Moxon

Yorkshire bosses Martyn Moxon (left) and Mark Arthur (right) are expected to leave their roles

Sportsmail understands the ECB are planning to overhaul their mechanisms for reporting racist abuse, with officials admitting the current system is not fit for purpose. 

The governing body is anticipating an explosion of complaints, because Rafiq’s whistleblowing is likely to have emboldened others to seek redress. Former Notts batsman Bilal Shafayat claimed last week that an ex-Yorkshire fast bowler had called him a ‘smelly curry eater’ in a match.

The ECB’s admission that the reporting system is inadequate echoes a survey done by the Professional Cricketers’ Association this year, which found that half of the professional players in England and Wales were unsure how to report racism in the sport.

Rafiq’s whistleblowing is likely to embolden others and cause an explosion of complaints

Rafiq’s whistleblowing is likely to embolden others and cause an explosion of complaints

In addition, a quarter of respondents said they had experienced or witnessed racism in the game, and of those, 60 per cent believed the abuse was disguised as ‘banter’, the pretext given by Yorkshire for not taking disciplinary action against Gary Ballance despite him calling Rafiq a ‘P**i’. 

The ECB concede privately that existing mechanisms need to be updated to make the reporting of complaints easier. An enhanced service with anonymous phone lines and reporting via text message and apps is set to be launched. 

The ECB are also talking to data experts about compiling a more complete picture of racist incidents.

There is also acknowledgment at Lord’s that they could have moved quicker to demand greater transparency from Yorkshire in their handling of Rafiq’s complaints.

Meanwhile, Moxon will not give evidence to MPs investigating the racism scandal because of ill health.

He had been called to appear before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday along with Arthur. Moxon is off work with a stress-related condition. 

The former off-spinner reached a £200,000 settlement after accusing the club of racism

The former off-spinner reached a £200,000 settlement after accusing the club of racism 

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