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Azeem Rafiq racism case: Chairman Roger Hutton & board members resign

Azeem Rafiq racism case: Chairman Roger Hutton & board members resign

Hutton “apologised unreservedly” to Rafiq, 30, when he quit his role on Friday.

Hanif Malik and Stephen Willis stepped down from the board following an emergency meeting later that day.

Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford has been appointed as a director and chair of the club.

A fourth board member, Neil Hartley, will step down in the near future after “ensuring smooth transition to new leadership”.

“The club needs to learn from its past errors, regain trust and rebuild relationships with our communities,” Lord Patel said.

Yorkshire is lucky to have a vast talent pool of cricketers:

and passionate supporters, from all of our communities and we must re-engage with everyone to make a better Yorkshire County Cricket Club for everyone.”

Hutton released a lengthy statement on Friday,

admitting the club “should have recognised at the time the serious allegations of racism” raised by Rafiq.

He added that at Yorkshire he had “experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge”.

Hutton was also highly critical of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), claiming the governing body “declined to help”.

It comes after an investigation found Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” – but the club said they would take no disciplinary action.

On Thursday, Yorkshire were suspended from hosting England matches by the ECB.

The ECB said it was “clear” Yorkshire’s handling of the issue is “wholly unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game”.

Hutton claim that when he was made aware of Rafiq’s allegations:

he “immediately reached out” to the ECB “to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry” but there was a “reluctance to act”.

In response, the ECB confirmed Yorkshire had contacted them at the start of the investigation,

but said: “Our role is to operate as a regulator across the entire game. We must act independently of any club investigations

“The reason why our governance is structure in this manner,

is perfectly demonstrate in the way that these issues have play out at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

The ECB has confirmed it is to investigate a tweet sent by Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale in 2010.

then club captain, sent a now-deleted tweet containing an anti-Semitic slur to former Leeds United head of media Paul Dews.

BBC Sport has contacted Yorkshire for a response:

In a statement, Hutton said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Azeem.

“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.

“During my time as chairman, I take responsibility for failing to persuade them to take appropriate and timely action.

Speaking about the ECB, Hutton, who will be question by MPs alongside senior Yorkshire officials and Rafiq on 16 November,

I was sadden when they decline 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.”

Hutton, a lifelong Yorkshire fan and local lawyer,

took up the role in April 2020 and said he

“never met Azeem and was not at the club during the period he was employe.”

Speaking on Thursday, Julian Knight MP, the chair of the Digital, Culture,

Media and Sport select committee, said he hoped the sanctions handed down by the ECB would

“act as a short, sharp shock to bring the club to its senses”.

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