Yorkshire County Cricket Club Appoints Lord Patel as New President After Roger Hutton Resigned Over Handling Racism Case Azeem Rafiq | Cricket news

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Yorkshire President Roger Hutton (left) resigned over the club's handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism case

Yorkshire President Roger Hutton (left) resigned over the club’s handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism case

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club has appointed Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford as its new president, replacing Roger Hutton, who resigned over the club’s response to the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Hutton left before Friday’s emergency meeting and asked other board members to consider their positions and stand down.

That call was taken, and the club confirmed that non-executive directors Hanif Malik and Stephen Willis had also resigned.

Vice Chairman Neil Hartley will remain on the board to ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, but he also intends to resign in the near future. Sky Sports News has learned.

Yorkshire has been heavily criticized for its handling of the case.

Speaking of his new appointment, Lord Patel said: “I am eager to move this club forward and drive the change that is needed.

“The club needs to learn from its past mistakes, regain confidence and rebuild relationships with our communities.

“There is a lot of work to do, including reading the panel report, so that we can begin the process of learning from our past mistakes.

“Yorkshire is fortunate to have a vast talent pool of cricketers and passionate supporters from all of our communities and we must re-engage with everyone to make a better Yorkshire County cricket club for all.”

The resignations followed an investigation that found that Rafiq was the victim of racial harassment and intimidation, and the club stated that it would not take any disciplinary action.

The ECB said it was “clear” that Yorkshire’s handling of the issue was “totally unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club Board

President: Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford
Vice President: Neil Hartley
Executive Director: Mark Arthur
Executive Director: Martyn Moxon
Executive Director: Mark Arthur
Non-Executive Director: Trevor Strain
Non-Executive Director: Neil Hartley
* Former President Roger Hutton resigned
* Resigned non-executive director Hanif Malik
* Non-executive director Stephen Willis resigned
* Vice President Neil Hartley intends to leave after the transition period

Former president Hutton, who joined the club’s board of directors in 2020, issued a statement on Friday confirming his decision to resign and suggesting that senior officials in the Yorkshire executive were not taking Rafiq’s experiences enough into consideration. I laughed.

“I never met Azeem and I was not at the club during the period he was employed. However, I know that when someone makes claims as serious as yours, they must be investigated and changes must be made,” Hutton said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to fully apologize to Azeem. The club should have recognized at that time the serious accusations of racism.”

“I regret that we were unable to persuade the executive members of the board to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and to show care and contrition.

“I remain disappointed that legal restrictions, including an ongoing labor court, have prevented the investigation report from being released and I hope that the time will come when everyone can see its recommendations. I hope it will be released as soon as possible.

“I want to make it clear that when I learned of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations, I immediately contacted the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust investigation.

“It saddened me when they refused to help because I felt it was a matter of great importance to the game as a whole.”

‘The ECB did not act; Yorkshire was reluctant to change ‘

Refuting the ECB’s claims that Yorkshire’s handling of the case fell well below expected standards, Hutton even accused the national governing body of showing an unwillingness to act on the allegations.

“It is a matter of record that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB’s reluctance to act,” Hutton added.

“There has been a constant unwillingness on the part of the executive members of the board and the club’s top management to apologize, accept that there was racism and look forward.

Sky Sports News's Geraint Hughes Says Roger Hutton's Resignation Expected

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Sky Sports News’s Geraint Hughes Says Roger Hutton’s Resignation Expected

Sky Sports News’s Geraint Hughes Says Roger Hutton’s Resignation Expected

“For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept changes or challenges.

“During my time as chairman, I take responsibility for not persuading them to take appropriate and timely action. This frustration has been shared by all non-executive members of the board, some of whom have also resigned.

“Now I call on the executive members of the board to resign, to make way for a new path for the club that I love so much.

“Of course, I will continue to cooperate fully with the ECB and the invitation to testify before the Select Committee of the House of Commons.

“The club has brilliant people and has done a lot to be proud of, particularly the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, and I want to see more grassroots education in the game to end racism for good.”

“I look forward to the time when the Yorkshire County Cricket Club is a great club again and I will always support those who share my love for the club and wish our fans and team the best.”

In response to Hutton’s statement, an ECB spokesperson said: “Yorkshire CCC approached us at the beginning of the investigation with a request that we partner with them to explore Azeem’s allegations of racism and intimidation against the club.”

“Our role is to operate as a regulator throughout the game. We must act independently of any club investigation, should we ever be required to intervene as a regulator, either during or afterwards.

“The reason our government is structured in this way is perfectly demonstrated in the way these themes have been developed at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

Rafiq, reacting to the news on Twitter, reiterated his claim that it was, and still is, an unwillingness on the part of Yorkshire to accept responsibility and apologize.

Rafiq’s tweet read: “There has been a constant lack of will on the part of the executive members of the board [Arthur and Moxon are the executive members of the board] and the club’s top management to apologize and accept racism and look forward. “

‘Rafiq embarrassed the game to act; the system failed him ‘

ESPNcricinfo senior correspondent George Dobell believes Yorkshire has not accepted the issue of racism at the club following allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq

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ESPNcricinfo senior correspondent George Dobell believes Yorkshire has not accepted the issue of racism at the club following allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq

ESPNcricinfo senior correspondent George Dobell believes Yorkshire has not accepted the issue of racism at the club following allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq

That view is shared by ESPNcricinfo correspondent George Dobell, who said Sky Sports News that Yorkshire didn’t do enough and is a “textbook case of institutional racism.”

Dobell said: “Cricket reflects society, but I think Yorkshire is worse than anywhere else I have experienced cricket. The difference I see is that other clubs probably accept that they have a problem and want to improve.

“Yorkshire does not accept that he has a problem, he does not accept that he did anything wrong and therefore he does not accept that he has to change.

“I am afraid that acknowledging guilt is the first step towards a remedy. I do not believe that these are individuals, although several will feel ashamed or embarrassed in the next few days.

“A key issue is that Azeem reported these things, I think four years ago. He reported him to the club several times, he reported him to the union, and he reported him to the ECB, and no one did anything.

“He embarrassed the game into acting, and it shouldn’t be. The system has failed him.

“I think it is absolutely a textbook case of institutional racism and I think the people in Yorkshire, at the club, have shown that they are incapable of dealing with it. They have had a lot of time and time is running out.”

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