Azeem Rafiq set for new MPs' hearing over Yorkshire County Cricket racism claims

Azeem Rafiq will appear as a witness at further hearings at the end of this year.

Azeem Rafiq is set to be called before MPs again after he spoke out about racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

The former player gave evidence last November to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee about racist abuse during two stints at the club.

The committee now wants to hear from Mr Rafiq and Yorkshire's chairman Lord Patel again in the autumn, according to the Press Association, although a formal request has not yet been made.

The committee is understood to be especially keen to hear from Mr Rafiq about a campaign to vilify him since his first appearance, and from Lord Patel about attempts to undermine the new regime at Yorkshire.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced in June that "a number of individuals" had been charged following an investigation into Mr Rafiq’s allegations of racism, and into how Yorkshire had handled those allegations.

Mr Rafiq will appear as a witness at the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) hearings which are due to take place in November or December.

Alongside Mr Rafiq and Lord Patel, the DCMS committee also wants the ECB to appear at the same hearing, and would prefer this to happen once the CDC process is complete.

The only individual who has confirmed they have been charged is former Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale, who announced on 29 June he would not engage with the process, which he described as “tainted”.

Last month Mr Rafiq received an in-person apology from his former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance for the “unacceptable” and “racist” language he had used towards him.

Mr Rafiq’s startling claims before the committee on 16 November last year caused an “earthquake” to hit the ECB, according to its former chief executive Tom Harrison.

The sport’s governing body devised a 12-point plan designed to tackle discrimination within cricket and is obliged to provide quarterly updates on its progress to the DCMS committee.

Separately, the outcome of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) investigation into the ECB is also due to issue its final report this autumn.

Mr Rafiq first spoke publicly about what he saw as institutional racism at Yorkshire in August 2020, but it was not until September last year that Yorkshire published a summary of the findings of an independent investigation.

The investigation accepted that Mr Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying but upheld only seven of 43 allegations made.

The following month, the club announced no individuals would face disciplinary action arising from the investigation. The full report has never been published.

The handling of Mr Rafiq’s allegations by the former leadership at Yorkshire was heavily criticised last autumn, with the ECB withdrawing the right for Headingley to host lucrative England matches until governance conditions were met.

Roger Hutton resigned as chair on 5 November last year, with chief executive Mark Arthur quitting on 11 November.

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