Yorkshire Cricket Club: Equality and Human Rights Commission 'deeply concerned' about racism row

ITV News reporter Cari Davies outlines the whirlwind events of the last 24 hours

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said it's "deeply concerned" about the racism row that's engulfing Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

The EHRC's statement comes after the cricket club's chairman, along with other board members, resigned over the way the club dealt with allegations of racism made by former player Azeem Rafiq.

EHRC chief executive Marcial Boo said in a statement her organisation had written to the club “to ask for more information, including a fully copy of their investigation report, to determine if there has been a breach of the law”.

New Yorkshire chair Lord Kamlesh Patel has been landed with the task of leading the “change that is needed” as the club look to deal with the crisis.

Lord Patel was installed on Friday after previous chairman Roger Hutton resigned. Hutton walked out of the club and called on the likes of chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon to follow suit. It is left to Lord Patel of Bradford, a respected former England and Wales Cricket Board board member and chair of the governing body’s South Asian advisory group, to plot a course beyond the immediate scandal, which has seen sponsors leave the club and public criticism from politicians and campaign groups.

Lord Kamlesh Patel has been tasked with leading the club out of the crisis. Credit: Yorkshire Cricket Club

Lord Patel, who will speak at a press conference on Monday, said he is ready for the work that awaits him. In a short introductory statement, he said: “I’m looking forward to taking this club forward and driving the change that is needed. The club needs to learn from its past errors, regain trust and rebuild relationships with our communities. “There is much work to do, including reading the panel’s report [into Rafiq’s claims], so we can begin the process of learning from our past mistakes.” One of his tasks will be to decide on the future of Arthur and Moxon, who were urged to resign by the outgoing Hutton.

Azeem Rafiq playing for Yorkshire

It is understood neither is preparing to resign, with Moxon saying: “There’s a new chair in place, it’s entirely in his hands what happens now.”

Hutton, who was this week called to appear at a parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on November 16, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Azeem. “There has been a constant unwillingness from the executive members of the board and senior management at the club to apologise, and to accept that there was racism, and to look forward. For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge. “During my time as chairman, I take responsibility for failing to persuade them to take appropriate and timely action. 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.” Friday brought more allegations, with former Yorkshire overseas player Rana Naved-ul-Haq telling ITV News he heard teammate Michael Vaughan use racially insensitive comments.

Listen to Rana Naved-ul-Hasan's statement in full

Vaughan categorically denied suggestions he told a group of non-white teammates there were “too many of your lot, we need to do something about it” over a decade ago. The 2005 Ashes-winning England captain was stood down by the BBC from his hosting role on Monday night’s ‘Tuffers and Vaughan’ show on Radio 5 Live. Meanwhile, Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale told the Jewish News he had been “completely unaware” of the meaning of an offensive, anti-Semitic word he used in an historic and subsequently deleted tweet, after the newspaper reported the story.