CEO Statement: Azeem Rafiq and Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Racism is not banter.
Being called racial slurs is not ‘friendly banter’.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club accepting that racial harassment and bullying DID take place but deciding not to take any action IS institutional racism.

This past week we have seen the courageous action of Azeem Rafiq to stand up and report 43 incidents of the racial harassment he experienced rewarded by startling inaction by Yorkshire County Cricket Club to address the situation. As an organisation that promotes equality and supports victims of hate crime and discrimination, we know the extent of racism that exists on a personal and institutional level within sport and society. We are saddened but not surprised of the outcome of the independent panel that racial harassment and bullying did indeed take place, but that no action would be taken by the Club thereafter. Furthermore, the Club did not believe Azeem Rafiq’s ‘alleged upset’ was genuine. This further discourages victims of discrimination to come forward and diminishes the huge impact that racism has on individuals, their families, and the wider community.

The actions taken by sponsors to cut ties with the Club shows that there are allies who will not tolerate racial harassment or discrimination of any kind. We need more individuals and organisations to stand up to racism and show their intent to stamp out discrimination with direct action. We hope that now both Azeem Rafiq and Yorkshire County Cricket Club will give evidence to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee, that the initial action that should have taken place, will be highlighted and acted upon with urgency and commitment.

If you have been a victim of discrimination or hate crime, we encourage you to reach out to organisations like us at Race Equality First, or others out there that will support you in having your voice heard and ensuring that any individuals or organisations involved are held accountable.

Aliya Mohammed
Chief Executive Officer