Racist cricketer could be named in Parliament as Yorkshire Cricket row explodes & sponsors abandon ship


A PLAYER at one of England’s top cricket club’s could be named as a racist in Parliament as an astonishing row drove sponsors to abandon ship.

Ministers have demanded “heads roll” at Yorkshire County Cricket Club for passing off racism towards former bowler Azeem Rafiq as just “banter”.

Azeem Rafiq faced racism at Yorkshire Cricket Club
Sajid Javid demanded “heads roll” at the club

Karachi-born Rafiq was called a “P***”, asked if his dad owned a corner shop and “is that your uncle?” when they saw Asian men during his spell at the club.

A report by Yorkshire CCC ruled he was the victim of racism – but found the comments were made “in the spirit of friendly banter”.

The ex-teammate who made the offensive remarks has so far remained anonymous but could now be named using parliamentary privilege.

MPs hope to call Rafiq to give evidence “imminently” which would allow him to name the teammate without fear of slander.

Rafiq said last night: “No one believed me, no one listened, everyone tried to protect themselves and left me all alone to fight. Time for the full truth.”

Tory chair of the Commons sport committee Julian Knight has already summoned Yorkshire CCC boss Roger Hutton to explain himself.

Sponsors this morning began abandoning the club, with butter firm Arla foods saying they wouldn’t renew their contract.

Tetley’s Tea is also considering its association with the club.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid whose parents are Pakistani immigrants last night stormed raged that “heads should roll”.

In a blistering tweet he said: “P*** is not banter. Heads should roll at Yorkshire CCC. If the England Cricket Board doesn’t take action it’s not fit for purpose.”

The ECB has hired a top lawyer to investigate and apologised to Karachi-born Rafiq.

Sports Secretary Nadine Dorries piled in and stormed that the racism Rafiq faced was “disgusting”.

She fumed: “Racism must be confronted, and NEVER written off as just “banter”.

Downing Street also waded into the race row last night. Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister’s absolutely clear that racist language like that should never be used in any context whatsoever.”


Rafiq, 30, played for the White Roses between 2008 and 2018 and made allegations of institutional racism more than a year ago.

An independent probe by the club admitted he had been a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” and issued a “full apology”.

But Yorkshire CCC said none of its employees would face sanctions and refused to publish a copy of the report.

The “banter” findings only emerged in a report from sports site ESPNcricinfo this week.

The ECB, which only recently received the report, said last night: “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.”

Yorkshire County Cricket Club said in a statement: “We acknowledge that we must work hard to restore trust from those who feel let down.

“We are committed to incorporating the panel’s recommendations into our diversity and inclusion action plans.”