Former Yorkshire cricket players and staff handed sanctions for racist language against Azeem Rafiq

An independent review in March found that six players and staff had used racist language towards former teammate Azeem Rafiq or other people of Asian ethnicity. Credit: PA

Former England cricketer Gary Ballance is facing an £8,000 fine and an eight-week suspension after admitting using racist or discriminatory language.

The England and Wales Cricket Board recommended the sanctions following disciplinary hearings into allegations of racism by the former Yorkshire bowler Azeem Rafiq.

Ballance – one of six individuals connected with the club accused of using racist language – had already admitted the charge.

His lawyer, Craig Harris, argued the financial penalty should be reduced due to the cost of being involved in the proceedings, namely that he lost his job as a player at Yorkshire, a sponsorship contract, and was not considered for England selection.

The suspension is likely to have little consequence after Ballance announced his retirement from playing last month.

The ECB will also recommend sanctions to be imposed on the other five: John Blain, Tim Bresnan, Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard and Richard Pyrah, to the independent Cricket Discipline Commission panel in central London.

Azeem Rafiq arriving at the CDC hearing in March in London. Credit: PA

Blain, Bresnan, Gale, Hoggard and Pyrah had all withdrawn from the disciplinary proceedings and did not appear at a liability hearing held in early March, with the charges against them heard in their absence.

An independent Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) review on 31 March found all five had used racist language towards former teammate Rafiq or others.

Thirty-two-year-old Rafiq first went public in 2020 to allege he had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying across two spells at Yorkshire.

A separate hearing will deal with any sanctions that Yorkshire County Cricket Club will face on 27 June.

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