Yorkshire racism scandal: when is Azeem Rafiq giving evidence to DCMS committee - and how to follow live
Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s racism scandal will be put under the microscope today as its former chairman is set to face a committee hearing this morning - 16 November 2021
Former Yorkshire and England youth player Azeem Rafiq is set to give evidence on Tuesday 16 November 2021 as part of the ongoing investigation into racism claims at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Rafiq first went to YCCC with allegations of racism in 2018 but an investigation was not launched until 2020 after the spinner recalled the incidents in an interview with Wisden Cricket.
The report had found that while Rafiq had been a victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’, much of it had been in the spirit of ‘friendly banter’ and that no one would be facing any disciplinary action.
Yorkshire had been summoned by MPs to release the findings of the independent investigation on 8 September 2021, but they were still not released until 10 September.
The county then missed the deadline to send the findings to Rafiq, and when they were sent, the former cricketer received a heavily redacted version of the findings.
The conclusion that Yorkshire came to was deemed unsatisfactory by MPs and on 2 November 2021, the department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) selected a committee in which the former Chairman of Yorkshire Cricket, Roger Hutton, would be summoned to answer questions surrounding Yorkshire’s handling of the case.
Rafiq has been asked to give evidence at the committee which takes place on 16 November 2021.
When is the committee meeting?
The committee will be meeting on Tuesday 16 November 2021. The hearing is scheduled to start at 9.30am GMT and Azeem Rafiq is expected to give evidence first.
Hutton will then answer questions from 10.15am GMT. The chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Tom Harrison, and its chair Barry O’Brien are set to give evidence relating to the ECB’s role in the scandal from 11.15am GMT.
Where is the committee meeting taking place?
The Committee will meet at The Wilson Room, Portcullis House. Portcullis House is an office building in Westminster.
How can I follow the hearing?
The hearing will be available to watch live through the parliamentlive.tv website. The meeting starts at 9.30am GMT.
BBC Sport will also be offering live updates throughout the hearing on their website.
What has come out so far in the racism scandal?
Only seven of Rafiq’s 43 allegations of racial harassment and abuse have been upheld by YCCC. Initially no names were to be mentioned following the results of the independent investigation, however both Gary Ballance and former England captain Michael Vaughan have confirmed they have been named in the report.
Ballance released a lengthy statement on 3 November 2021 admitting to and apologizing for using a racial slur against his former cricketing best friend Rafiq.
Vaughan has vehemently denied the allegations that have been brought against him. Former Pakistani bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and current England spin bowler Adil Rashid have both corroborated Rafiq’s story regarding the comments Vaughan is alleged to have said.
The ECB have suspended Yorkshire from hosting international matches and many of Yorkshire’s sponsors have pulled out of their contracts with the club.
Emerald have cut ties with the county while Nike have ended a four-year deal which was only announced eight months ago.
What is expected to happen at the hearing?
It is likely that many more stories are expected to come out as a result of the hearing. So far, only two names have been released but the results of the hearing are expected to reveal more names that are at the centre of Rafiq’s claims.
As it is a hearing run by a government committee, evidence can be voiced and heard without fear of civil or criminal action.
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