Former Yorkshire handyman Azeem Rafiq will have parliamentary privilege protection when addressing the DCMS select committee from 9.30am on Tuesday meaning he’s free to name names without worrying about legal reprisals
By Tom Parmenter, Sky News
Last updated: 11/16/21 6:53 am
Several Yorkshire cricketers have sought legal advice anticipating they could be charged with racist behavior when former teammate Azeem Rafiq provides evidence to MPs in Westminster.
The 30-year-old whistleblower, who accused his former club of being “institutionally racist”, will explain why the abuse he suffered led him to consider taking his own life.
The former handyman will have the protection of parliamentary privilege when he addresses the select committee of the Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) at 9.30am on Tuesday.
This means he is free to name names without worrying about legal reprisals.
The full report on Rafiq’s allegations, which was compiled by an independent group from Yorkshire County Cricket Club, was never released.
He accepted some of Rafiq’s complaints and concluded that he was the victim of “racial harassment and bullying”, but no one at the club was subjected to disciplinary action.
The DCMS committee may also address the question of whether or not former England captain Michael Vaughan said there were too many British Asian players on the Yorkshire squad in 2009.
Rafiq along with his former teammates Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan accused Vaughan of making the comment during a match but it is something the former England captain categorically denies.
On Monday, Vaughan said: “It is extremely shocking that this completely false accusation was made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players.
“I fully accept that perspectives differ and have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has been through, but I hope everyone understands why I can’t allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be unjustly trashed.”
Former Yorkshire president Roger Hutton, who has left his job in Headingley, is also expected to provide MPs with evidence on how the club has conducted its investigation.
Former CEO Mark Arthur, who also resigned, was invited but is no longer listed as a witness.
The president and chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board will also be questioned about how they handle complaints of racism.
Rafiq’s friend Mohammed Patel, who organized the recent protest outside Headingley, said Sky News: “Azeem Rafiq not only discovered the unpleasantness of racism, but also exposed the disconnect between the government, Sport England, England and Wales Cricket and County Cricket.
“It may suggest that public money has not provided a level playing field for those from disadvantaged minorities and communities.
“A full independent investigation is now urgently needed.”
They are part of a growing movement within cricket to highlight previous racist behaviors and urge the game’s governing bodies to live up to their often repeated slogan that “there is no room for racism” in cricket. .