The England and Wales Cricket Board has piled pressure on Yorkshire to publish its racism allegations investigation after praising the “considerable courage” of Azeem Rafiq for speaking up.
Ian Watmore, the ECB’s chair, said the governing body was looking forward to receiving a “copy of the report promptly” so it could decide what action is necessary.
It is almost exactly a year since Yorkshire launched an independent investigation into allegations of institutionalised racism raised by former bowler Rafiq, who said his experiences at the club left him on the brink of suicide.
The ECB issued its statement on Wednesday after the player called on authorities and politicians to intervene over alleged delays in publishing the report.
Rafiq, 30, captained Yorkshire in Twenty20 cricket but left in 2018 and said he was made to feel like an outsider as a Muslim. His comments, in an interview with the website ESPNcricinfo, led Yorkshire to issue a statement confirming they had contacted Rafiq and set up an investigation into his claims, as well as a wider review of the culture of the club.
Watmore confirmed on Wednesday evening that conclusions of the report were now in the hands of the club, which has yet to clarify when the full findings will be made public. “We respect the independent process behind the review, and the club’s legal responsibilities to all parties,” he said in a statement. “We also understand the frustration at the length of time this investigation has taken.
“Now that the club has a full copy of the report, we have today written to Yorkshire to formally request a copy, together with a timeline for publication. It has taken considerable courage for Azeem Rafiq to speak out, and it is right that his experiences should have been thoroughly investigated. We now look forward to receiving a copy of the report promptly to enable us to fulfil our role as the ultimate regulator of the game.”
Rafiq initially spoke out last August, referencing alleged specific instances of non-white players being called “p—-” and “elephant washers” as well as being told to “go back to where you came from”.
Rafiq was born in Pakistan but moved to Barnsley as a child. He had two stints at Yorkshire but left three years ago after a period of personal tragedy in his life when his son was stillborn.
Yorkshire commissioned an independent law firm to probe Rafiq’s claims, although the former England Under-19 captain has grown exasperated by the delays to the process, given it is a year since he first made his allegations.
He said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday: “It’s a sham. We’ve waited a year for this report. Surely now is the time for the ECB to become involved?
“The ECB’s own anti-discrimination code states that any alleged breach must be investigated and dealt with in a ‘timely’ fashion. Well, it’s been more than a year and no-one has been held accountable and nothing has changed.
“Why are our politicians not stepping in to ensure this issue is investigated with the transparency it deserves?”
In a separate process in June, Yorkshire and Rafiq failed to resolve their dispute in an employment tribunal case.
Rafiq filed a legal claim under the Equality Act in December, alleging direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club.
Telegraph Sport contacted Yorkshire for comment.