Yorkshire have been suspended from hosting international cricket and face the prospect of additional financial sanctions following the club’s botched handling of Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations.
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced this unprecedented move on Thursday night in response to mounting political pressure, describing the issues raised by Rafiq as “abhorrent” and having led to “serious questions” about the club’s governance and management.
Coming on the day that Nike became the latest and most high-profile sponsor to terminate a deal with Yorkshire, the ECB also confirmed that Gary Ballance is suspended from international duty after he admitted this week to using racist language towards Rafiq – explained as two-way verbals between friends – when the pair were teammates.
Another astonishing revelation came when the former England and Yorkshire captain Michael Vaughan revealed he had been accused of racism within the Rafiq report – an accusation he strongly denied.
Rafiq alleges that in 2009, when Vaughan was still a player and before a Yorkshire match against Nottinghamshire, he told Rafiq and three other Asian players as they walked on to the field together that there are “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”.
Vaughan, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said: “This hit me very hard. It was like being struck over the head with a brick. I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words.”
On a desperate day for Yorkshire, the ECB statement, which followed an emergency board meeting on Thursday afternoon, read: “As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game.
“It also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.
“In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and first-class county.”
Source: The Guardian