Yorkshire Statement following the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing
Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE said:
“This is an incredibly difficult day for all associated with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
“The emotion of Azeem Rafiq’s compelling testimony at the Select Committee today was plain to see, and his experiences are harrowing and upsetting.
“Azeem’s courage in speaking up should be praised, and nobody should underestimate how difficult it would have been to relive all of this in public. His wish to bring a ‘voice to the voiceless’ should be an inspiration to provoke real change in the sport.
“I repeat our apology to Azeem for what he has gone through, it should never have happened and that is something that the Club has to recognise.
“It is becoming ever clearer since I joined this Club that what happened with the investigation into Azeem’s allegations was fundamentally flawed and unacceptable. The processes and subsequent actions taken by the Club have rightly been criticised.
“There is no quick fix to the clear problems which have been identified, and the issues are complex, not least the charge of institutional racism which must be addressed head on. Azeem noted that this is not about individuals, but rather the structure and processes of the Club, and we need to tackle this. It is clear that we have good people at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and that gives me hope that we can. I am struck by the concept of ‘White Rose’ values and what that means: I want to say firmly that our values at this Club cannot be in any way rooted in racism, discrimination or abuse of any kind.
“I agree with Azeem that we are only at the start of a journey, which will take time. At the heart of this is listening, and going through our past – including the Fletcher Report – as well as examining our culture and taking positive steps to build to a better future, such as the progression from grass roots to the professional game. We need to own the issues collectively as a Club, and cannot hide from what has been spotlighted.
“As well as the set-up of the independent whistleblowing hotline, we are committed to taking further action in response, and will communicate these steps transparently.
“In his testimony, Azeem said that, despite the treatment he received, ‘Yorkshire is still my club’. I want to make this Cricket Club a source of pride once again, righting the wrongs of the past and making sure that we are an inclusive home for aspiring players of the future.”