“P***” is not banter, Health Secretary Sajid Javid

“P***” is not banter, Health Secretary Sajid Javid
  • Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports has described in her twitter “Racism must be confront and never written off as just “banter”.
  • ECB said in a statement that “We will conduct a full regulatory process that is fair to all parties, but also ensure this happens as quickly as possible”
  • “The way Azeem Rafiq’s allegations have been handled by Yorkshire County Cricket Club appears totally unacceptable. Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council

Health Secretary Sajid Javid in his tweet called for “Yorkshire CCC board to resign yesterday as he tweeted: ‘P*** is not banter. Heads should roll at Yorkshire CCC. If (the) ECB doesn’t take action it’s not fit for purpose”.

Health Secretary came out in support of former Yorkshire County cricket club player Azeem Rafiq, who first described publicly his experiences of racism at the club over a year ago. Rafiq, a former captain both of England’s Under-19s and Yorkshire’s Twenty20 side moved to England from Pakistan in 2001.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports said in her twitter “Azeem Rafiq’s treatment after the racism he faced was disgusting, and the investigation that followed only makes it even worse. The @ECB_cricket investigation must be swift and fully transparent. Racism must be confronted and NEVER written off as just “banter”.

In a statement England and Wales Cricket Board said “Last week we received Yorkshire CCC’s report into the racism and bullying allegations Azeem Rafiq made against the club.

“We are conscious about the length of time that Azeem has waited for resolution and the toll that must be taking on his wellbeing and that of his family. We are sorry that, as a sport, this has not yet been resolved.

“We will conduct a full regulatory process that is fair to all parties, but also ensure this happens as quickly as possible. To achieve this, we have secured the services of a QC, along with other external investigatory support to upweight resource around our process. The ECB Board has also reaffirmed its commitment to further additional resource, should the investigation require it.

“We are aware that The Select Committee have called Yorkshire’s Chair, Roger Hutton to give evidence. In the meantime, we will press ahead with our investigation.”

Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said:“The way Azeem Rafiq’s allegations have been handled by Yorkshire County Cricket Club appears totally unacceptable. I know the reported lack of action by the club against individuals who were found to have used racist language is offensive to so many people in Leeds. The club urgently needs to address the organisation and culture factors that allowed this to happen and the cricket authorities need to intervene and make sure these issues never happen again.”

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said: “Cricket is a much loved game amongst the Pakistani and the wider South Asian community in Leeds, but the way Yorkshire County Cricket Club have handled Azeem Rafiq’s allegations is damaging to the community’s relationship with them. They now need to reach out to our communities and start to rebuild the trust that has very clearly been lost.”

In a statement Yorkshire CC said: The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is pleased to announce the actions it has taken since they received the Report prepared by the Independent Panel in August this year.

The Club would like to thank the Panel whose work as a Panel has come to an end. The Panellists, Dr. Samir Pathak, Stephen Willis, Rehana Azib , Mesba Ahmed and Helen Hyde gave up a huge amount of their time voluntarily. The Club are grateful for their work and insight. In particular the Club would like to recognise the hard work of specialist employment barrister Rehana Azib and HR expert Helen Hyde who ultimately compiled the Report.

The Club has previously provided a summary of that Report in the press but for legal reasons has been unable to publish the Report in its entirety.

The Club is pleased to have disclosed a redacted version of the Report as part of the ongoing Employment Tribunal proceedings on 8 October.

Following this disclosure the Club has also been able to provide a copy of the Report to the ECB and is working with them on their investigation into the issues raised. The Club is also keen to work with the ECB on issues of diversity and have offered their help to the ECB on what is such an important issue for the game as a whole.

Ultimately the issues raised by Azeem Rafiq are going to be considered not only by the Panel but also the Employment Tribunal and the ECB.

The Club has also carried out their own internal investigation following the findings in the Report after which they are able to report that they have come to the conclusion that there is no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or Executives that warrants disciplinary action.

None of this diminishes the importance of the findings or that fact that there is much the Club can learn from the Report. It was important for Azeem to raise the issues and without him doing so we would not have the Panel’s recommendations which are an important part of the Clubs continuing journey. Club Chair Roger Hutton believes the Club and everyone connected to it should be proud of the work that the Club has done to improve diversity and inclusion prior to his involvement, but equally acknowledges there remains much to be done going forward. The Club is fully supportive of what is a strong and talented team which is working hard on the recommendations on the way forward for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and looks forward being able to report on further developments over the coming months.

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