Michael Atherton slams Yorkshire for ‘tin-eared’ response to Azeem Rafiq racism case

Former England cricketer turned Sky Sports pundit Michael Atherton has criticised Yorkshire over their response to the ongoing Azeem Rafiq racism case

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Former England captain Michael Atherton has slammed Yorkshire over their handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism case, accusing the county of being “tin-eared and tone-deaf”.

Rafiq first went public with his allegations against Yorkshire over a year ago, prompting the county to commission an independent review into his claims.

Yorkshire have since refused to publish a copy of the resulting report, but have admitted that Rafiq suffered “racial harassment and bullying” during in his time at the club.

However, the county recently said they were “pleased” to announce that none of their current employees, players or executives would face any disciplinary action, despite several senior figures from the time of the accusations still involved at the club.

Azeem Rafiq was the victim of racial harassment while at Yorkshire County Cricket Club



Writing in the Times, Atherton described the case as the “gravest crisis” in Yorkshire’s history.

“It would be no exaggeration to suggest that the most famous county club in England is facing the gravest crisis in its history,” he wrote.

“Yorkshire is renowned as a club that has often descended into internecine warfare, with outsiders looking on puzzled but vaguely detached.

“Now, though, following the lengthy report into the allegations of racism from a former player, Azeem Rafiq, and the subsequent tin-eared and tone-deaf reactions from the club, there has been an outpouring of revulsion the likes from which few county cricket clubs can have suffered.

“Events are now moving more quickly. The ECB is under pressure to act; sponsors are expressing disquiet; parliament is taking a keen interest.

“The news that the chairman of the club, Roger Hutton, has been called before a DCMS inquiry, that will also allow Rafiq to have his say at last, is entirely welcome.

“Much will depend on the rigour of the questioning, but Hutton’s responses would carry parliamentary privilege and greater transparency should result.”

Fellow former England internationals Nasser Hussain, Darren Gough and Mark Butcher have also been critical of Yorkshire’s handling of the case.

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