Yorkshire County Cricket boss Darren Gough promises 'inclusivity' after Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

Yorkshire County Cricket Club interim managing director Darren Gough.

Yorkshire County's cricket boss has said he hopes the club will be more "inclusive" as it prepares for a major overhaul following a racism row.

Darren Gough said he hoped the club could "move forward," as the club voted through reforms that led Headingley to be granted a return to international match hosting rights.

The Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) overwhelmingly voted in favour of structural reforms on Thursday night, following Azeem Rafiq's allegations he suffered racism during his time playing for the club.

An investigation found he had been subjected to racial harassment and bullying while at the club, and in November, he gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Rafiq said he was "relieved" at the outcome of the vote, after club members approved key changes in response to the scandal.

He welcomed the ratification of Lord Kamlesh Patel as the club's new chair - who has promised an era of greater transparency and openness in the role.

Former Yorkshire County Cricket Club player, Azeem Rafiq, prompted a major inquiry into discrimination in the game.

Rafiq tweeted: "Relieved to see Lord Patel’s reforms backed today and that Yorkshire members chose a bright, inclusive future for my club "Big opportunity to show the world what can be achieved when you have strong leadership and good people."

Earlier tonight, the team's captain told ITV News the club's members had been instructed not to speak about the scandal.

When asked about Rafiq's experience Patterson replied: "In all honestly, we have been instructed by the club not to discuss that subject at this moment in time and just to discuss matters regarding cricket this season."

When pressed on the matter he replied: "I have answered your question, sorry."

Former Yorkshire Cricket captain Gough was appointed interim managing director of the club in the wake of Rafiq's testimony.

He spoke to media after Yorkshire’s members approved structural reforms at an extraordinary general meeting that gave the green light for Headingley to stage international matches again.

Hosting England fixtures is crucial to Yorkshire’s revenue, hard hit following the withdrawal of several sponsors amid the racism saga, which plunged the club into crisis.

But Gough hopes the resolutions that passed overwhelmingly on Thursday evening, can be another stepping stone in the club’s healing process.

“It was a relief that happened and now we can move forward,” Gough said. “It’s about accepting what’s happened in the past, never forgetting it and making sure something like that doesn’t happen again.

“It’s about making this club something the whole country and the whole world can be proud of and make it inclusive to everyone.

“What I’ve seen so far in the three months I’ve been here is a club that’s working its socks off to be the best it can be. I’m immensely proud to be part of that.”

Azeem Rafiq

Yorkshire could still be punished – potentially with a points deduction – as the England and Wales Cricket Board’s regulatory investigation into Rafiq’s allegations remains ongoing.

But Gough, the former Yorkshire and England fast bowler, is looking towards the future, having taken on a position he was initially unfamiliar with until the end of the 2022 season, shortly after 16 members of staff were removed from their roles.

“I won’t be very often be on the pitch wearing a tracksuit with a mitt,” Gough said. “I’m learning things every single day and being educated about everything."

“I’ve enjoyed the variety, I’ve enjoyed trying to put a team together, not just a coaching team but also a medical department, which I have no experience in whatsoever.

“I’ve spoken to quite a few directors of cricket around the country and I’ve probably done more in three months and been part of something that other people haven’t done in five years in their roles.”