Ex-chairman ‘fears’ Yorkshire CCC is institutionally racist amid Azeem Rafiq row
The former chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club Roger Hutton ‘fears’ the club is institutionally racist, amid the damning racism report surrounding former player Azeem Rafiq.
Hutton sat in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee to give evidence on the club’s poor handling of the race row, which has seen himself and former chief executive Mark Arthur resign.
Following claims from the former player an independent investigation found seven allegations of abuse towards the off spinner however no punishment was handed out by the club, who described the use of a racial slur as ‘banter’.
During the hearing the DCMS committee asked the former chairman if he felt the cricket club was institutionally racist, to which he replied: “The panel concluded there was insufficient evidence.
“I have to observe that in the past few months there has been a substantial amount of thoughtlessness and ignorance and a reluctance to apologise; to see Azeem as a victim; to put into place the recommendations."
After failing to give a clear, outright answer to the matter he was pressed again which led him to confirm: “Yes, I fear it falls under that definition."
Alongside Hutton at the hearing was his successor Lord Kamlesh Patel, who also discussed the idea about his new place of work having an institutionally racist problem.
Lord Patel said: “I have been appointed because there is a charge of that and the processes and systems fail to be there.
“My job is to work with people to change that. I have to be proud of the organisation I am chairing."
The county’s new chairman went on to add that the racism issue within cricket ‘pains’ him, and that he now aims to take action to stamp it out the game.
"It pains me that it is prevalent in cricket,” he continued.
Cricket gave me an escape in life when it was tough, now I have to work out an action-orientated way forward.
“With politicians involved, you represent people and constituents have said we are not having this."
Following the initial claims, the former chairman’s ex-employer Squire Patton Boggs law firm was put in charge of the investigation, and Hutton told the DCMS committee that former CEO Arthur asked him to abandon the process looking into Rafiq’s case.
He said: “There were a number of signals throughout the process. I was asked by the CEO to abandon the process and investigation.
He said: "An employment tribunal had been settled and the CEO did not want to apologise. I said Azeem Rafiq would be part of the process of healing and reconciliation and was told he would not be welcome.
"There were isolated incidents like this throughout the investigation. When the report was produced on 17 August, there was clear resistance to see Azeem as a victim and clear resistance to an apology.”
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