Yorkshire Chairman Roger Hutton Resigns, Apologises To Azeem Rafiq

Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton resigns, apologises to Azeem Rafiq. On Thursday (November 4), ECB suspended Yorkshire from hosting international cricket.

Yorkshire Chairman Roger Hutton Resigns, Apologises To Azeem RafiqOn Thursday (November 4), ECB suspended Yorkshire from hosting international cricket.

Yorkshire Chairman Roger Hutton has resigned with immediate effect and “apologised unreservedly” for the club's handling of Azeem Rafiq's allegations of racism. He also criticised the ECB and the club's own executives who he says displayed a lack of “care and contrition”.

Rafiq has made a number of allegations about his time at Yorkshire, including that he was subject to racist abuse, bullying and harassment. An independent report, commissioned by Yorkshire, found that Rafiq had been subject to “racial harassment and bullying”. However, the county subsequently confirmed that they would be taking no disciplinary action against any of its players or staff.

In his resignation statement, Hutton, who joined the club in April 2020 after Rafiq had left the club, criticised the unwillingness of Executives and senior members of Yorkshire to “apologise and to accept racism and to look forward” and said, “for much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge”.

Hutton called on those club executives – chief executive, Mark Arthur, and director of cricket, Martyn Moxon – to resign. “During my time as Chairman, I take responsibility for failing to persuade them to take appropriate and timely action. This frustration has been shared by all of the Non-Executive members of the Board, some of whom have also now resigned. I now call for those Executive members of the Board to resign, to make way for a new path for the Club I love so much.

“I am sorry that we could not persuade Executive members of the Board to recognise the gravity of the situation and show care and contrition. I remain disappointed that legal restrictions, including an ongoing employment tribunal, have prevented the investigation report from being published and look forward to the time that everyone can see its recommendations. I hope for it to be published as soon as possible.

“Azeem left the club in August 2018, 18 months before I joined. I have never met Azeem. I know however, that when someone makes claims as serious as his, they need to be investigated and changes need to be made. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Azeem. The club should have recognised at the time the serious allegations of racism.”

Hutton also criticised the ECB for failing to get involved in the case earlier. On Thursday (November 4), the ECB suspended Yorkshire from hosting international cricket and confirmed that they could impose financial sanctions on the club following the ECB's own ongoing investigation.

However, Hutton says he asked the ECB for help as soon as he was made aware of Rafiq's allegations. Rafiq first made his claims of racism, bullying and harassment in August 2020, in an interview with Wisden. The ECB only began their own regulatory process last week once Yorkshire had shared a copy of the independent report they commissioned into the allegations.

“I want to be clear that when I was made aware of Azeem Rafiq's allegations, I immediately reached out to the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry,” Hutton said. “I was saddened when they declined to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance for the game as a whole. It is a matter of record that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB's reluctance to act.”

In response, an ECB spokesperson said: “Yorkshire CCC did reach out to us at the beginning of the investigation with a request that we partner with them on exploring Azeem's allegations of racism and bullying against the club.

“Our role is to operate as a regulator across the entire game. We must act independently of any club investigations, should we ever be required to intervene as regulator – either during or after. The reason why our governance is structured in this manner, is perfectly demonstrated in the way that these issues have played out at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Hutton said he will continue to cooperate with the ongoing ECB regulatory process and he will also attend a Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing later this month after he was called to appear earlier this week. Former ECB chair, Colin Graves, has been tipped to replace Hutton although many of Rafiq's allegations relate to the time Graves was Yorkshire chair.

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