SEVEN people have been charged by the ECB following an investigation into racism at Yorkshire CCC and English cricket sparked by Barnsley man Azeem Rafiq.

The Chronicle understands they include former England players Michael Vaughan, Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan and Matthew Hoggard.

Each case is now expected to be heard by the ECB’s Cricket Disciplinary Panel either late this year or next year.

It has also been reported that Yorkshire CCC have been charged and accused of ‘allowing a culture to develop which fostered discriminatory behaviour and of subsequently failing to adequately deal with complaints.’

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Other charges, including those related to social media comments, will be made at a later date and part of separate proceedings. It is thought to be likely that Rafiq will be charged for anti-Semitic online posts, for which he has apologised and since visited Auschwitz concentration camp as part of work with the Jewish community.

Rafiq said: “I welcome the announcement by the ECB and hope we can move to the hearing quickly. This has been another gruelling but unfortunately necessary process. It has been a long two years since I went public about my experiences, but I hope this all means that no young player ever goes through such pain and alienation again.

“My preference would be for this hearing to take place publicly, but I am hopeful that we are at least nearing a point where there will be some sense of closure for my family and me.”

Rafiq, who spent more than a decade at the Headingley club in two spells, opened up in 2020 about racist abuse he received. That led to an investigation by the club, which was widely criticised, then a government inquiry which led to heavy sanctions against the club and wholesale changes of staff.

Gary Ballance has admitted calling Rafiq, who he played with at Barnsley CC as well as Yorkshire, a ‘P•ki’ but said it was meant as banter. Ballance, the former England batter, is still contracted to Yorkshire but has not played this season as he takes a break. Michael Vaughan and Tim Bresnan have both denied using racist language towards Rafiq and others while Matthew Hoggard has apologised to him.

Barnsley men Martyn Moxon and Richard Damms were among 16 staff sacked by the club, with Damms one of several who have filed unfair dismissal claims, with the cases ongoing.