A BARNSLEY cricket club has pledged its support to one of its players after he was reportedly banned from wearing an anti-racism jumper.
Haider Rasool, 38, plays for Rockingham Colliery Cricket Club in Hoyland Common and was racially abused – having reportedly been called a ‘P**i’ while playing for his previous club in 2020.
He donned a ‘No Room For Racism In Cricket’ jumper while playing in games last season and received no backlash.
However, two matches into this year’s campaign, he said his team have been threatened with a points deduction from Yorkshire Cricket Southern Premier League officials.
He told the Chronicle: “It seems really absurd and I feel neglected and let down because I wore it all last year.
“I was called the ‘P’ word whilst playing a match which subsequently got abandoned.
“I went through the system to get justice but it failed me.
“After six or seven months trying to get justice, I was watching a football match and saw the ‘No Room For Racism’ sign which is when I made the jumper.
“There were no issues with it at all last year until the second game this year when I got told I wasn’t allowed to wear it anymore.”
The league reportedly told Haider the reason he wasn’t allowed to wear the garment was because it was a ‘slogan’ – a claim the school teacher says isn’t reasonable.
“The slogan ‘it’s okay to talk’ is allowed but this isn’t and it just doesn’t make sense,” he added.
“They say it’s because slogans aren’t allowed but that’s just not a good enough excuse.
“It’s something that’s close to me because of what I went through.
“People aren’t listening and it’s definitely something that’s needed to educate people.
“You can’t ignore something this serious and, with everything going on, I think it’s an institutional thing.”
It comes after seven people were charged earlier this month by the ECB following an investigation into racism at Yorkshire CCC and English cricket sparked by Barnsley man Azeem Rafiq.
The individuals have not been named by the ECB but reports claimed they are all former Yorkshire colleagues of Rafiq.
Each case is now expected to be heard by the ECB’s 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.’
Haider’s current club has backed him, saying they want to promote his message in the most positive way.
“The club has been fantastic and they’ve supported me throughout,” Haider added.
A ‘No Room For Racism’ sign has now been purchased by the club who will display it at their ground whilst playing.
Richard Skipworth, Rockingham’s vice chairman, added: “We are keen to clarify that we have not contested the league ruling and that we are concentrating our energies on promoting Haider’s message in the most positive way.
“We are in full support of our player and friend.
“Haider is an intelligent, passionate man who has a desire to be heard.
“We are more than happy to support him and his movement.
“Rockingham CCC are proud to have a diverse membership who acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of all community groups.
“The sign has created significant media interest and we invite all cricket clubs to join us in our condemnation of racism and all other forms of discrimination.”