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A timeline of Yorkshire’s racism scandal

Yorkshire and a “number of individuals” were charged by the ECB on Wednesday (Danny Lawson/PA)
Yorkshire and a “number of individuals” were charged by the ECB on Wednesday (Danny Lawson/PA)

The fallout from the racism crisis in county cricket sparked by allegations from former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq has continued with the England and Wales Cricket Board charging the county and a “number of individuals” on Wednesday.

Here, the PA news agency provides a timeline of the developments in the affair so far.

September 2, 2020 – Rafiq tells ESPNcricinfo that he contemplated committing suicide during his time at Yorkshire because of “institutional racism” at the county.

A sign outside Yorkshire's ground
A sign outside Yorkshire’s ground (Peter Powell/PA)

September 3, 2020 – Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton confirms a formal investigation into Rafiq’s claims will be launched.

September 5, 2020 – Law firm Squire Patton Boggs is hired by Yorkshire to lead the independent investigation.

November 13, 2020 – Rafiq reveals details of the racism he faced at Yorkshire, saying non-white players were called “P***s” and “elephant washers”. He also highlights a drinking culture at the club that is insensitive to Muslim attitudes to alcohol.

December 14, 2020 – Rafiq files a legal claim against Yorkshire under the Equality Act, claiming direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club.

Middlesex v Yorkshire – Specsavers County Championship – Division One – Day Four – Lord’s
In November 2020, Azeem Rafiq revealed details of the racist abuse he had received during his time at Yorkshire (John Walton/PA)

June 17, 2021 – Yorkshire confirm they have failed to “resolve the issues between the club and Azeem Rafiq” through the process of judicial mediation. The case remains within the employment tribunal process.

August 18, 2021 – England and Wales Cricket Board chair Ian Watmore calls on Yorkshire to provide a copy of the investigation’s findings after the county takes receipt of its report. Rafiq reveals his exasperation with continued delays to the process.

August 19, 2021 – Rafiq accuses Yorkshire of “fudging” his claims of institutional racism after the county apologise to the former spinner for being the “victim of inappropriate behaviour” but insist “many of the allegations were not upheld”.

September 8, 2021 – Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chair Julian Knight MP tells Yorkshire to publish the report into Rafiq’s claims of racism, stating: “It is crucial that the process, the report and its full findings are made public and open to scrutiny.”

DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight MP
DCMS Committee chair Julian Knight MP commented on the Azeem Rafiq case in September (House of Commons)

September 10, 2021 – Yorkshire release a summarised version of the report, where they apologise and accept Rafiq had been the victim of “racial harassment and bullying”, but after only seven of Rafiq’s 43 allegations were upheld. The county insist there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove institutionalised racism.

October 7, 2021 – A spokesperson for Rafiq accuses Yorkshire of “protecting the players and a coach who they now acknowledge used either racist language or were bullying”.

October 28, 2021 – Yorkshire announce no individuals will face disciplinary action.

November 2, 2021 – ESPNcricinfo reveals further details of the report into Rafiq’s claims, which includes the admission of one senior player that he used the word “P***” in reference to Rafiq, but Yorkshire conclude the incidents in question amounted to “friendly banter”. Amid growing political pressure, chairman Hutton is called to face the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

November 3, 2021 – Emerald Group Publishing, Yorkshire Tea and Anchor Butter all end their association with Yorkshire over the handling of Rafiq’s allegations. Former England batter Gary Ballance reveals he used “a racial slur” against Rafiq but claimed both men “said things privately to each other which were not acceptable”.

November 4, 2021 – The ECB suspends Yorkshire from hosting international or major matches while Ballance is “suspended indefinitely” from England selection.

November 5, 2021 – Hutton resigns as Yorkshire chairman along with two board members. Lord Patel is appointed as the new chair. Former Yorkshire all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan claims he heard Michael Vaughan make inappropriate comments to Asian players at the club, something which Rafiq had also alleged and which Vaughan denies.

November 11, 2021 – Mark Arthur resigns as Yorkshire chief executive after director of cricket Martyn Moxon is signed off with a “stress-related illness”.

November 12, 2021 – Essex chairman John Faragher resigns following a historic allegation of racist language used by him at a board meeting in 2017. Three Essex players – Jahid Ahmed, Zoheb Sharif and Maurice Chambers – later allege they suffered racial abuse at the club.

November 15, 2021 – Adil Rashid joins Rana in backing Rafiq’s claim related to Vaughan. The trio allege Vaughan said in front of a group of Yorkshire players of Asian ethnicity: “Too many of your lot, we need to do something about it.”

November 16, 2021 – Rafiq provides explosive details of his time at Headingley at a DCMS select committee hearing and also suggests the racially derogatory use of the term ‘Kevin’ by Ballance was “an open secret in the England dressing room.” He also alleges another former England batter, Alex Hales, gave a dog the name because it was black. Later, his statement from his settled employment tribunal with Yorkshire reveals damning allegations against Ballance, Moxon, Andrew Gale, Tim Bresnan and Matthew Hoggard. Broadcaster David Lloyd also apologises for comments he made.

November 17, 2021 – Hales “categorically and absolutely denies” Rafiq’s assertions while former Yorkshire captain David Byas, who was also named in the select committee hearing as being “known” for using racist phrases, also denies any wrongdoing.

November 18, 2021 – Rafiq issues an apology after it is revealed he sent anti-Semitic messages to a fellow player more than a decade earlier.

November 19, 2021 – The game’s stakeholders hold a crisis meeting after which ECB chief executive Tom Harrison promises “wide-ranging action to tackle discrimination”.

November 27, 2021 – Vaughan, who was stood down by the BBC for its winter coverage of the Ashes, apologises to Rafiq for the suffering he experienced during his time at Yorkshire but denies making the comments attributed to him.

February 11, 2021 – After a number of changes instigated by new chairman Lord Patel, Yorkshire’s international status is restored, but on the condition certain reforms are completed.

April 1, 2022 – Yorkshire members vote overwhelming for the changes which will allow Headingley to stage international matches.

Headingley was stripped of the right to host international matches
Headingley was stripped of the right to host international matches (Danny Lawson/PA)

May 5, 2022 – Essex are fined £50,000 and reprimanded after accepting two charges relating to the alleged historic racist comment by Faragher.

May 31, 2022 – The ECB reveals Essex have been placed in a “non-compliance process” after falling “significantly short” of targets to tackle racism and promote inclusion and diversity set after Rafiq’s testimony to MPs. They are warned they could face sanctions.

June 15, 2022 – The ECB charges Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” following an investigation into Rafiq’s allegations.