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Statement from Yorkshire following the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing

Statement from Yorkshire following the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hearing

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Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE said:

“It is an incredibly difficult day for everyone associated with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“The emotion of Azeem Rafiq’s compelling testimony before the select committee today was evident, and his experiences are heartbreaking and upsetting.

“Azeem’s courage to speak out is to be commended, and no one should underestimate how difficult it would have been to relive it all in public. His wish to bring a ‘voice to the voiceless’ should be an inspiration to bring about real change in the sport.

“I repeat our apologies to Azeem for what he went through, this should never have happened and this is something the Club must recognize.

“It has become increasingly clear since I joined this club that what happened with the investigation into Azeem’s allegations was fundamentally wrong and unacceptable. The subsequent processes and actions undertaken by the Club have been rightly criticized.

“There is no silver bullet to the clear issues that have been identified, and the issues are complex, including the accusation of institutional racism that needs to be tackled head-on. Azeem noted that this is not about people, but rather the structure and processes of the Club, and we need to tackle that. 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 the “white rose” values ​​and what it means: I want to say firmly that our values ​​in this club can in no way be rooted in racism, discrimination or abuse of any kind .

“I agree with Azeem that we are only at the beginning of a journey, which will take time. At the heart of this is listening to and examining our past – including the Fletcher report – as well than looking at our culture and taking positive steps to build a better future, such as progressing from grassroots to professional football. We need to take ownership of the issues collectively as a club and cannot hide from what has been brought to light.

“In addition to setting up the Independent Whistleblower Hotline, we are committed to taking other actions in response and will communicate these actions transparently.

“In his testimony, Azeem said that despite the treatment he received, ‘Yorkshire is still my club’. I want to make this cricket club once again a source of pride, righting the wrongs of the past and ensuring that we are an inclusive home for aspiring gamers of the future.