Azeem Rafiq: Cricketer settles legal case with Yorkshire as new chair says club handled racism claims 'badly'

·2-min read

Former cricketer Azeem Rafiq has accepted a six-figure sum from Yorkshire County Cricket Club which has vowed to “listen and change” in the wake of the racism scandal at Headingley.

The settlement was announced by incoming chair Lord Kamlesh Patel, who said the club had to be "anti-racist and anti-discriminatory from this day forward".

The bowler was found to have been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying" while playing for the club but no one was punished, prompting widespread criticism.

In a news conference in the Long Room at Headingley Lord Patel also apologised to Rafiq.

He said: "Azeem is a whistleblower and should be praised as such.

"He should never have been put through this.

"I'd like to apologise to him - we are sorry for what you and your family experienced and the way in which we've handled this. What happened to you must never happen again to anyone."

Sky News understands that the six-figure financial settlement includes a donation to a mental health charity.

In response Rafiq said: "I brought a legal claim because the club refused to acknowledge the problem and create change.

"For the first time that I can remember, I have hope this might happen - but I will be watching and continue to campaign to ensure that it does."

Lord Patel said that he was already in negotiations with key sponsors to try and bring them back on board as the club faces up to a "grave" financial situation.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has suspended Headingley from hosting international matches until they have demonstrated that the culture has changed at the club.

Despite several resignations last Friday, Rafiq said that it was still untenable for chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon to remain in the roles at Yorkshire.

So far, the club has not published the full report compiled by an independent panel that examined the claims of racism made by Rafiq.

A leaked report suggested that the use of "the P word" towards Rafiq was made in the context of "friendly banter."

Batsman Gary Ballance has since apologised for using the racial slur during private conversations with his former friend and colleague Rafiq.

Former England captain and Yorkshire colleague Michael Vaughan said that he "completely and categorically" denies ever saying anything racist - Rafiq and another team mate alleged that Vaughan once suggested that there were too many Asian players at the club.

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