Mark Arthur and Martyn Moxon come under renewed pressure from former club captain
Yorkshire recently produced a summary of a report they had commissioned into the issue which admitted that Rafiq, a former captain of the team, was “the victim of racial harassment” and “bullying” during his time at the club.
But despite demands from both the ECB and an employment judge, the club have refused to hand over the full report they had compiled into the issue. And they have not announced any sanctions against any employees.
As a result, Rafiq has renewed calls for Arthur, the Yorkshire chief executive, and Moxon, the director of cricket, to be removed from office. In a statement attributed to “a spokesperson for Rafiq”, he alleges “several” of his allegations related “directly” to the “conduct” of the pair and suggests their place on the club’s equality and diversity committee is inappropriate.
“Several of the allegations by Rafiq and others relate directly to the conduct of both Moxon and Arthur during their stewardship of the club,” it states. “Both were at Yorkshire throughout Rafiq’s second spell and at least part of the first – Moxon from 2007 and Arthur from 2013.
“In August 2018, when Azeem Rafiq raised concerns of racism there was a failure by the Club to follow its own policy or investigate these allegations. On a number of occasions prior to 2018 the Club could have done more to make Muslims more welcome within their stadiums and should have dealt better with complaints of racist or antisocial behaviour within those stadiums. These are extremely serious admissions.
“Given these failures happened under the watch of Arthur and Moxon, why are they still employed by the club? In view of these failures, why do he and Moxon still sit on the equality and diversity committee at Yorkshire? Again, what consequences are there for those who remain in club management for these failures?
“Separately, we note that Moxon and Arthur joined Yorkshire’s equality and diversity committee in 2019, despite the club’s failure to follow its own policies regarding allegations of racism. We believe they should be removed from this committee.
“Indeed, we believe that the findings of racial harassment and bullying towards Azeem on their watch should be grounds for their removal.”
Rafiq’s statement also alleges that it “was completely inappropriate” that Moxon and Arthur had any role in deciding which parts of the report were included in the summary released to the public. It is understood that the pair are part of a very small group at the club to have been provided access to the report.
“They are not, by definition, independent,” the spokesperson continues. “It was completely inappropriate for Arthur and Moxon to apparently have decision making roles in how the findings of the report were made public. Any summary that comes from Yorkshire cannot be considered fair and balanced when many of those who have seen the report and determined Yorkshire’s response are themselves subject of allegations.”
Yorkshire’s reluctance to hand over the report to even the ECB – the game’s regulator – could yet have consequences. Not only have the ECB indicated they are considering charging Yorkshire with bringing the game into disrepute – a charge which, if proved, could result in diminished funds being made available to the club – but an employment judge ordered the club to hand over the full, unredacted report to both Rafiq and the court before October 8. At the time of writing, it is understood that has not happened, meaning a charge of contempt is also possible. Rafiq’s statement also renews his calls to be shown the full report.
“Yorkshire’s main contention is that the frequent use of racist language and harassment on the grounds of race by players and a coach, as well as failures of procedure when complaints were made, was not sufficient to make a finding of institutional racism,” it says. “Again, it is difficult to comment on this conclusion without sight of the report or its reasoning. What is clear is that racism and bullying has occurred – and on many occasions. What is not clear is how the investigation could accept repeated incidents of racism and bullying, while also reaching the conclusion Yorkshire is not institutionally racist.
“Azeem’s solicitor was sent a copy of this summary only a couple of minutes before the media – not that it mattered, because this file was corrupted and could not be opened properly. Azeem and his team ultimately had sight of the summary after the media. Having been given no warning of this publication, we were able to issue only a brief response, which we sent out shortly after 11am that day. We promised a more detailed reply – this statement – once we had sufficient time to review Yorkshire’s statement.”
Meanwhile Amna Rafiq, Azeem’s sister, has made a formal complaint against the Yorkshire Cricket Board. Amna has worked as the Board’s Clubs and Community Development Manager but claims that, since her brother’s grievance with the club came to light, she has been ostracised by the club’s hierarchy.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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