Lord Patel admits some at Yorkshire believe “nothing was wrong” despite racism scandal


Yorkshire Cricket Club have made huge structural changes since it was concluded that former player Azeem Rafiq was subjected to “racial harassment and bullying”

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Sajid Javid discusses Yorkshire cricket racism scandal

Yorkshire CC Chairman Lord Patel has admitted a “very small minority” of club members still believe “nothing was wrong” despite the racism scandal that brought shame on English cricket.

Back in November, former player Azeem Rafiq, 31, made harrowing allegations to a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee about his time with the club.

Amid his claims, he described how former captain Gary Ballance used the name ‘Kevin’ in a derogatory manner to refer to those of black and Asian backgrounds. The all-rounder also broke down in tears as he described how Martyn Moxon, then director of cricket, “ripped shreds off me” when he returned to work after the stillbirth of his son in 2017.

A subsequent report concluded Rafiq had been the victim of “racial harassment and bullying.” That same month, Patel came into post and vowed to overhaul the structure at the club.

As a result Moxon, head coach Andrew Gale and all members of the coaching staff were among 16 people to leave under the new regime. In March, the club held an Extraordinary General Meeting [EGM] and pushed through three major reforms.

The changes have meant Yorkshire can now host international matches again, after the ECB initially suspended the club’s right to stage England games in response to the outcome of the report. However, Patel has now revealed that a ‘very small minority’ are not united with the change of direction.







Lord Patel has began an overhaul at Yorkshire following the racism scandal
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking to the BBC during Yorkshire’s County Championship match against Lancashire at Headingley on Friday, Patel said: “There is a very small minority who believe nothing was wrong here and wish to return to those days,” he said.

“That is my fear, that those people continue to believe that.” However Patel, 61, insisted that those opposing the recent changes were still vastly outnumbered.

“I have met thousands of people here who are genuine, good people who want to do the right thing,” he continued. You have to believe the majority of people here want to do the right thing and go in the right direction.”

Back in February, and angry Patel publicly accused ‘individuals’ of trying to ‘delay and derail’ Yorkshire’s bid to reform, saying: “We have become aware of a small group of individuals who have indicated a belief that, by looking to make progress and change for the better, ‘the lamb that is Yorkshire Cricket Club is to be sacrificed on the altar of Black Lives Matter ‘.

“This is unacceptable in every possible way. This group is actively seeking to delay and derail the essential reforms and consequently the return of international cricket by litigating process issues, without presenting any positive alternative.”

Following the EGM, Rafiq himself took to social media to praise Patel, saying: “Relieved to see Lord Patel’s reforms backed today and that Yorkshire members chose a bright, inclusive future for my club. Big opportunity to show the world what can be achieved when you have strong leadership and good people.”

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