Azeem Rafiq: Cricket 'desperately' needs 'cultural change' amid racism claims, says player

051121 Roger Hutton and Azeem Rafiq, Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Rafiq made allegations of institutional racism against YCCC during two spells there. Credit: ITV Calendar

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq says the whole sport "desperately needs reform and cultural change" after he was subjected to racism during his time at Yorkshire Country Cricket Club.

Rafiq made allegations of institutional racism against YCCC during two spells there - between 2008 and 2018. The club upheld seven of 40 allegations he made, but revealed it would not take disciplinary action against any of its employees, players or executives following a review.

After former England cricketer Gary Ballance admitted levelling a racial slur at Rafiq, Rafiq's taken to Twitter, highlighting his stance that the issue is much bigger than this one example.

He wrote: "I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals. This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change."

Headingley Stadium is the home of Yorkshire Country Cricket Club. Credit: PA Images

As the row escalated this week, several major sponsors - including Emerald Group Publishing and Yorkshire Tea - have ended their association with the team.

The Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, also got involved, accusing the England and Wales Cricket Board of not being fit for purpose if it didn't take action.

Later this month, MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee will hold an evidence session to look into the issue.