Yorkshire CCC have admitted Azeem Rafiq was the victim of racist bullying but the Barnsley man says the process has been 'atrocious' and has called on the club to admit there is an institutional problem.
Rafiq, from Gawber, claimed last year that he was racially abused during his more than ten years at the Headingley club, prompting Yorkshire to launch an investigation which has last a year.
The full report is yet to be published but Yorkshire today released a statement admitting, during Rafiq's first spell at the club, there were 'three separate incidents of racist language being used by former players which were found to be harassment on the grounds of race' and that 'a former coach regularly used racist language.'
The report also says that, in Rafiq's second spell at the club from 2016 to 2018, 'there were jokes made around religion which made individuals uncomfortable about their religious practices', that Azeem was bullied about his weight and fitness and that, when he raised concerns to club officials in 2018, 'there was a failure by the club to follow its own policy or investigate these allegations.'
The statement also reads: "there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is institutionally racist. It (the investigation) did not find that any decisions by the coaching staff or the Club, relating either to Azeem’s inclusion within a team or his ultimate release from the Club was for anything other than cricketing reasons.
"There were a great many people at the Club who cared deeply for Azeem and who worked extremely hard over a long period to develop and assist him, both personally and professionally, and who celebrated his successes and championed him at the Club. And there were others that worked exceptionally hard with him on his cricket, particularly when he struggled for form.
"Both the current and previous management have worked hard over many years to improve engagement within the diverse communities within Yorkshire. It is a matter of sincere regret that the good work of so many people at the Club - both with Azeem and in our efforts to build an inclusive and welcoming cricket club representing the best of all of Yorkshire - is at risk of being overshadowed by the behaviour and remarks of a few people."
A spokesperson for Azeem Rafiq said: “We note that Yorkshire County Cricket Club has confirmed Azeem was the victim of racism and bullying during his two spells at Headingley.
“However, we must highlight the atrocious way this process continues to be handled. Azeem was not given any notice of this morning’s statement – he received a copy only a couple of minutes before the media.
“Azeem and his team are not in a position to properly understand the club’s conclusions and how they reached them, because Yorkshire has not provided a copy of the report. This is clearly unacceptable and an abuse of process.
“What is clear is that Yorkshire County Cricket Club admits racism and bullying has taken place on many occasions, yet won’t accept the obvious – that this is an institutional problem.
“We also note that Baroness Morgan, the former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has written to Yorkshire County Cricket Club in recent days demanding that Azeem see a full copy of the report. We further note the letter to Yorkshire from Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, on Wednesday. We welcome their interventions.
“We will provide a fuller statement in the coming days.”