Azeem Rafiq was sent 'physical' threats after speaking out about racism in cricket

  • Azeem Rafiq tells Arif Ahmed there has been a backlash against him to try to stop others from speaking out

Azeem Rafiq has told ITV News that his family received threats of physical violence after he spoke out about racism in cricket.

The former Yorkshire County Cricket Club player prompted a major inquiry into abuse and discrimination in the game after making claims of institutional racism at the club.

Today parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee published a report which concluded that racism in cricket was "deep-seated".

Rafiq welcomed the report, but said he had faced a backlash for blowing the whistle.

He said: "It has got to the point where there have been concerns around mine and my family's physical safety.

"That's not right but I know why it's done – to stop other people coming forward. It has been difficult to hear and quite scary at times."

But he added: "You can throw whatever you want at me, I won't back down."

Rafiq gave emotional testimony to the DCMS Select Committee in November about the racist abuse he suffered across two spells at the county club.

Azeem Rafiq gave evidence to the DCMS Select Committee in November

He told MPs he had been the victim of racial slurs, which left him feeling "humiliated" in front of other players.

His claims led to the biggest crisis in the history of Yorkshire Cricket and prompted a raft of resignations and dismissals.

A report found former player Azeem Rafiq was the victim of racist harassment and bullying at Yorkshire. Credit: PA

But he subsequently faced criticism himself, after it emerged he had used anti-semitic slurs in messages shared with another cricketer in 2011.

He said today: "I'm really disappointed in myself for those comments, but they are not my beliefs and I've tried to put that right."

Following their inquiry, the DCMS Select Committee have called on the England and Wales Cricket Board to prove that cricket can "clean up its act" and said public funding should be withheld if it fails to do so.

Rafiq welcomed the report, saying he was "encouraged" by it, adding: "It shows how seriously the committee have taken the issue of institutional racism."