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Azeem Rafiq: There appeared to be an acceptance of racist abuse at Yorkshire | Cricket Information

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Azeem Rafiq informed MPs in regards to the names and racial slurs used within the Yorkshire and England dressing rooms. (Warning: video incorporates offensive and upsetting content material)

Azeem Rafiq informed MPs in regards to the names and racial slurs used within the Yorkshire and England dressing rooms. (Warning: video incorporates offensive and upsetting content material)

Azeem Rafiq fought again tears as he informed MPs the phrase ‘P***’ was “used continuously” throughout his two spells at Yorkshire and nobody in management challenged it.

Rafiq first alleged racial harassment and bullying in opposition to the county and accused them of institutional racism in September final yr, with the membership launching an investigation quickly afterwards.

Nevertheless, Yorkshire’s dealing with of it has been closely criticised. They lastly printed abstract findings of the investigation in September this yr and, whereas the investigation discovered there was “no query” Rafiq had been subjected to racial harassment and bullying, no people confronted disciplinary motion.

Rafiq informed the Digital, Tradition, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday: “Fairly early on on the membership, I joined a dressing room stuffed with my heroes, Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, a part of the 2005 Ashes group. And it was simply probably the most surreal second for me.

“Fairly early on, me and different folks from an Asian background… there have been feedback corresponding to ‘you will sit over there close to the bathrooms’, ‘elephant washers’. The phrase ‘P***’ was used continuously. And there simply appeared to be an acceptance within the establishment from the leaders and nobody ever stamped it out.”

Rafiq told a DCMS Select Committee about his relationship with former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance

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Rafiq informed a DCMS Choose Committee about his relationship with former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance

Rafiq informed a DCMS Choose Committee about his relationship with former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance

Rafiq added: “All I needed to do is play cricket and play for England and reside my dream and reside my household’s dream. In my first spell, I do not actually suppose I fairly realised what it was. I believe I used to be in denial.”

He mentioned he began medicine attributable to his deteriorating psychological well being and left Yorkshire for the primary time in 2014.

When he returned he initially felt settled underneath captain Alex Lees and coach Jason Gillespie.

“Jason left in 2016 and it simply felt the temperature within the room had been turned up,” mentioned Rafiq. “You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain.

“For the primary time I began to see it for what it was – I felt remoted, humiliated at instances. Fixed use of the phrase ‘P***’.”

Rafiq mentioned Ballance racially abused him on a 2017 pre-season tour.

“We have been in a spot and Gary Ballance walks over and goes, ‘Why are you speaking to him? You realize he is a P***’. This occurred in entrance of team-mates. It occurred in entrance of teaching workers.”

Former England batter Ballance admitted utilizing a “racial slur” in the direction of Rafiq in a prolonged assertion issued earlier this month, apologising however framing it as a part of a protracted and deep friendship.

Rafiq informed the committee that was not an correct depiction of their relationship, saying it went downhill from 2013 onwards and had turn out to be poisonous by 2017.

Requested by chair Julian Knight in regards to the time period ‘Kevin’, he mentioned it was an offensive, racist time period that reached the very high of the sport.

“‘Kevin’ was a one thing Gary used to explain anybody of color in a really derogatory method. It was an open secret within the England dressing room,” he mentioned.

“Anybody who got here throughout Gary would know that was a phrase he would use to explain folks of color.”

Rafiq additionally alleged former England batter Alex Hales was concerned.

He mentioned: “Gary and Alex Hales bought actually shut to one another after they performed for England collectively. I wasn’t current in that dressing room, however what I perceive (is) that Alex went on to call his canine ‘Kevin’ as a result of it was black. It is disgusting how a lot of a joke it was.”

Sky Sports activities Information has contacted Hales for remark.

‘I had purple wine poured down my throat’

Rafiq said he started drinking alcohol in an attempt to fit into the dressing room culture at Yorkshire. (Warning: video contains content that viewers may find distressing)

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Rafiq mentioned he began ingesting alcohol in an try to suit into the dressing room tradition at Yorkshire. (Warning: video incorporates content material that viewers could discover distressing)

Rafiq mentioned he began ingesting alcohol in an try to suit into the dressing room tradition at Yorkshire. (Warning: video incorporates content material that viewers could discover distressing)

Rafiq, who’s a Muslim, additionally described his harrowing first expertise of alcohol on the age of 15.

“I bought pinned down at my native cricket membership and had purple wine poured down my throat, actually down my throat,” he mentioned.

“The participant performed for Yorkshire and Hampshire. I (then) did not contact alcohol till about 2012 and round that point I felt I had to try this to slot in.

“I wasn’t good, there are issues I did which I felt I needed to do to realize my desires. I deeply remorse that but it surely has nothing to do with racism.

“After I spoke I ought to have been listened to. The sport as a complete has an issue, with listening to the sufferer. There isn’t a ‘yeah, however’ with racism; there is no such thing as a ‘two sides’ to racism.”

Rafiq mentioned the issue at Yorkshire was replicated “up and down the nation”.

Requested in regards to the truth others, corresponding to former Essex and Northamptonshire player Maurice Chambers, had now spoken out, Rafiq mentioned: “I wish to see it as progress that persons are feeling like they’ll come ahead and they’ll be heard and never simply be discredited, smeared about, briefed about.”

He described England and Wales Cricket Board initiatives on range as “box-ticking” workouts and “tokenism”.

He mentioned former England coach David Lloyd had talked about Rafiq’s ingesting.

He added: “He’d been an England coach and commentator and I discovered it disturbing, as a result of Sky is supposedly doing this wonderful work on bringing racism to the entrance and inside per week of me talking out, that is what I bought despatched to me and I assumed, ‘God, there are some closet racists and I must do one thing about it’.”

Sky Sports activities Information has contacted Lloyd for remark.

Rafiq added: “I believe with 4 or 5 months left on my contract, I used to be inspired to signal a confidentiality type and take a parcel of cash which I refused.

“At the moment it might have been some huge cash for me. I believe my spouse was struggling. I knew I used to be struggling. There was no method mentally I may have even thought of placing myself via this trauma. I truly left the nation. I went to Pakistan. I by no means needed to return again.”

Requested how he had summoned the power to return ahead, Rafiq added: “I had an interview about my new enterprise. I bought requested a query. And I bought emotional. I mentioned every thing.

“Even at that time, I genuinely thought that there could be some humanity left in a few of these people. However no. They thought, ‘He hasn’t talked about Yorkshire’. It was all about ‘discredit, discredit, discredit’. I do not understand how I’ve accomplished it. This final 14 months has been extremely troublesome.”

Rafiq harm by Root feedback

After the committee took a break as Rafiq grew to become visibly emotional, Rafiq mentioned he discovered it “hurtful” that England captain Joe Root mentioned he had by no means witnessed something of a racist nature at Yorkshire.

“Rooty is an efficient man. He by no means engaged in racist language,” Rafiq mentioned.

“I discovered it hurtful as a result of Rooty was Gary (Ballance)’s housemate and had been concerned in lots of the socialising the place I used to be known as a ‘P***’.

“It reveals how regular it was that even a great man like him would not see it for what it was. It is not going to have an effect on Joe, but it surely’s one thing I keep in mind on daily basis.”

Michael Vaughan is known as within the impartial report into Rafiq’s claims, however the former England captain has strenuously denied allegations he informed 4 Asian team-mates: “(There’s) too a lot of your lot, we have to do one thing about it.”

Rafiq, Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan all say they keep in mind these phrases, whereas the fourth participant Ajmal Shahzad has mentioned he can not recall any racism on the membership.

Requested about Vaughan, Rafiq mentioned: “Michael won’t keep in mind it… three of us, Adil, myself and Rana keep in mind it.

“He clearly had a snippet of my assertion. He used his platform on the Day by day Telegraph to inform everybody he hadn’t mentioned this stuff. To go on and put a snippet of my assertion out and speak about different issues, I assumed was fully flawed.

“He in all probability would not keep in mind it as a result of it does not imply something to him.”

Rafiq: I informed ECB Yorkshire usually are not doing the precise factor

Rafiq mentioned Yorkshire’s investigation into his allegations had been “removed from impartial”.

He mentioned that, whereas the investigation was reside, members of the panel have been entertained by the county at a Headingley Take a look at match.

“It simply reveals the conceitedness of those folks,” he mentioned.

Rafiq criticised the dealing with of his state of affairs by the ECB and the Skilled Cricketers’ Affiliation (PCA).

He mentioned: “When George Dobell printed (his preliminary) article (in September 2020) I had a cellphone name from (ECB chief govt) Tom Harrison. I felt like he was listening, however then they took the stance that they’d belief Yorkshire to do the precise factor after which as regulators would are available to carry Yorkshire to account.

“It was troublesome for me to take via the winter. I stored begging the ECB, the PCA, I stored telling them, ‘They (Yorkshire) usually are not doing the precise factor, that is going to finish up in a automotive crash for everybody’.

“Nobody needed to try this till that Monday (November 2) when the article broke in Cricinfo, at that time the ECB got here in.

“On a human level I felt like if another person had informed me they have been suicidal and so they have been ringing you saying, ‘Please assist’ I would overlook my structure and assist a human. Over the winter there have been some actual darkish moments.

“I did not really feel like they did that as a result of they have been involved for me or apprehensive for me, I really feel that was accomplished to tick a field in case I killed myself.”

Rafiq described the PCA as “extremely inept” and added: “An organisation that ought to have supported me left me alone.”

Rafiq mentioned Matthew Hoggard had apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his expertise at Yorkshire.

“I took a cellphone name from Matthew and he simply mentioned ‘Look, I did not realise, I am actually sorry. If among the feedback I made made you’re feeling the best way you’ve got described it, I simply need to apologise’.

“You realize what, when somebody does that, I used to be like ‘thanks, I actually respect it’.”





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