"Cricket customers are our bread and butter" - Businesses react to England match ban at Headingley

Credit: ITV Calendar

Businesses in Headingley says the end of major cricket matches at the stadium could push them out of business.

It comes as Yorkshire County Cricket Club has been suspended from hosting international and major fixtures, meaning no England cricket games will be played at Headingley.

It follows the club's handling of claims of racist abuse made by former player Azeem Rafiq.

Jason Cunningham runs Ugly Mugs Cafe in Headingley. He's only been in charge since the start of the pandemic and says the cricket has helped to keep them going.

"Things have not been great because we've had to shut a lot. But when the cricket was on, you'd take in a day what you might take in a week.

"The only way I'd be able to employ other staff here full time is if I knew the cricket was going to be on. Otherwise I'd have to run this place by myself.

"Without the cricket we'd probably only survive if we turned our whole business model to takeaways."

In 2022, Yorkshire are due to hold the third of three Tests against New Zealand, starting on June 23, as well as a one-day international against South Africa on July 24.

It's unclear whether these will go ahead after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended Yorkshire from hosting international or major matches "until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue."

Mark Burnard, co-owner, Jino's Thai Cafe Credit: ITV Calendar

For Mark Burnard, who has run Jino's Thai cafe for 19 years, he says the customers they get on cricket day are their "bread and butter."

"We've been in Headingley for such a long time, we're part of the community.

"It would have a huge impact on us."

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, who have summoned some of the club's board members before them in two weeks, said the decision should act as a "short sharp shock to bring the club to its senses."

Yorkshire have been criticised for their failure to release the report of their investigation into Rafiq’s allegations. In September they published a summary of the findings of the report.

While county chair Roger Hutton said at that time there was “no question” Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying over the course of two spells at Yorkshire, the club announced last week that no individual would face disciplinary action as a consequence.

On Friday, Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect.