Yorkshire Cricket Club announces plan to source 'diverse' talent in wake of Azeem Rafiq crisis

Yorkshire Cricket Club says it is trying to break down barriers that have 'disengaged' players in the past Credit: PA Images

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has announced it is joining forces with a South African club to find talent from diverse communities.

The county's partnership with Momentum Multiply Titans comes at a time when Yorkshire is trying to rebuild its reputation in the wake of allegations of institutional racism by former player Azeem Rafiq.

Chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel said: "By forging global partnerships, Yorkshire County Cricket Club will be able to create more opportunities for young cricketers, as a part of our ongoing commitment to bring down the barriers that have previously disengaged so many from the game of cricket."

Yorkshire faced widespread condemnation after an internal investigation into Rafiq's claims of institutional racism found he had been the victim of bullying and racial harassment, but concluded that no-one would face disciplinary action.

It led to the biggest crisis in the history of Yorkshire Cricket, with a raft of resignations and dismissals and prompted a parliamentary inquiry.

MPs later concluded that racism in the game was "deep-seated".

Yorkshire is now in the process of overhauling the way it operates.

The tie-up with the South African club follows a similar arrangement with Lahore Qalandars in Pakistan.

It will enable the clubs to offer scholarships for boys and girls to train overseas.

Lord Patel added: "The Momentum Multiply Titans and Lahore Qalandars are leaders in ensuring that cricket is accessible for everyone and both already have phenomenal outreach initiatives in their respective countries.

"We are keen to learn from them how best to develop aspiring talent across Yorkshire and beyond by developing an open and supportive pathway system. This is also an amazing chance for professional players to develop their games in different and challenging conditions."

Azeem Rafiq

Lord Patel told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee last week that he was confident the club was changing.

County members are due to vote on governance changes at an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the England and Wales Cricket Board says it is looking at whether to restore Yorkshire's right to host lucrative international matches at Headingley, which were stripped from them over the handling of the Rafiq case.