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Public hearing starts into Azeem Rafiq Yorkshire cricket racism scandal

Azeem Rafiq
Azeem Rafiq

A hearing into the racism scandal at Yorkshire started on Wednesday, with ex-player Azeem Rafiq set to give evidence more than two years after he made damning allegations over his treatment by the English county cricket club.

The initial proceedings were held in private but a live stream of the independent Cricket Discipline Commission panel's deliberations was set to be broadcast to accredited journalists later in the day.

Pakistan-born Rafiq, 32, first raised allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to his two spells at Yorkshire.

He told a British parliamentary committee in December 2022 the abuse he and his family had faced had forced him to leave the UK.

Disrepute charges against seven individuals with prior connections to the county were issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board last June, with the club also charged.

But the only charged individual still set to appear is ex-England captain Michael Vaughan.

Former players and coaches Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Richard Pyrah and John Blain have refused to engage with the process.

The CDC panel will still hear the charges against those five in their absence.

Gary Ballance, also charged, has already admitted using racially discriminatory language and will not appear.

Ballance, a former England Test player, is now playing for the country of his birth, Zimbabwe.

Yorkshire confirmed last week that documents relating to racism allegations against the club were deleted under the previous regime.

Previous officials at Yorkshire were roundly criticised for their handling of Rafiq's case, with the ECB at one stage removing the county's right to host lucrative England matches unless governance changes were made.

Rafiq alleges Vaughan told him and a group of Yorkshire team-mates of Asian ethnicity there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it" at a match in 2009.

Vaughan categorically denies the allegation, but Rafiq's claim has been corroborated by current Yorkshire and England international Adil Rashid, as well as former Pakistan paceman Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

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