Tories in turmoil:

Boris Johnson resigns – but insists he’ll stay as PM for coming months

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel receives 'phenomenally racist' letters amid Azeem Rafiq scandal fallout

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel received 'phenomenally racist' letters amid Azeem Rafiq scandal fallout - PA
Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel received 'phenomenally racist' letters amid Azeem Rafiq scandal fallout - PA

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel on Thursday said he had received a bagful of “phenomenally racist” letters and that the club’s staff had been physically abused during the toxic fallout from the scandal to engulf them.

The head of the crisis-hit county told BBC Test Match Special on the first day of the Headingley Test that there were still “a very small but very vocal group of individuals that do not accept that racism happened at this club”.

He also revealed he feared international cricket would not return to the ground after seeing evidence of what had taken place there when parachuted in as Yorkshire chair following the botched handling of Azeem Rafiq’s complaints of abuse.

“I do have a small but substantial bag of letters that if I was to take to the police, I think people would be prosecuted,” Lord Patel said of correspondence he branded “phenomenally racist”.

“We have a very small but very vocal group of individuals that do not accept that racism happened at this club. I think we have to move beyond that denial. Racism happens in society. It certainly happened at this club.

“It is not about me. It is about all of the staff who are working here tirelessly who have had a year and a half of being in the headlights and a year and a half of being abused – some physically, some verbally. It is them and their families and the players.”

The scandal saw Yorkshire banned from staging the current Test between England and New Zealand until they implemented controversial reforms, which they finally ratified at the end of March.

'I think we would have gone bust'

Lord Patel added: “If you had seen all the evidence I have seen, and where we had to drive to, you would put your mortgage on that we were not going to get this back. We worked phenomenally hard seven days a week and had a nine-week window within which to change the environment and make a big difference.”

He also said the debt-ridden club would have gone bust had their ban not been lifted. “In simple terms, yes. I think we would have. I don't think people have realised.”

As revealed by Telegraph Sport charges were finally announced over the scandal last week, with Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” facing action.

That prompted an extraordinary attack on the England & Wales Cricket Board on the eve of the Headingley Test by Lord Patel’s immediate four predecessors, who denounced its handling of the affair and demanded an independent inquiry.

Among a litany of allegations  raised by Colin Graves, Steve Denison, Robin Smith and Roger Hutton were that the ECB were effectively trying the club twice.

But Lord Patel said: “Regulators have to do their job. If something is wrong, they have to follow due process to deliver that. Yes, it is tough. We had international games removed from us. We provided the evidence to say we are fit for purpose as a club. The other charges stem back from 2004. That is a long time and lots of things have happened.

“I am hoping the line will be drawn after we have given our evidence, we are suitably sanctioned and we move forward. There is going to be a lot of naval gazing to look across the whole cricket community.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting