Yorkshire cricket racism: Club suspends coach over 'historical' tweet as government threatens to take action

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Yorkshire County Cricket Club has suspended its head coach Andrew Gale over a historical tweet in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Meanwhile, director of cricket Martyn Moxon has been signed off with a "stress related illness" after being called to resign by many - including Rafiq.

It comes as the government has said it may intervene if it judges that the club's internal procedures and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) review are insufficient.

On Monday, the new chair of Yorkshire CCC, Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford, announced that the club had reached a settlement with Rafiq, and praised him for being a whistleblower.

Rafiq said he was subject to racism at Yorkshire CCC while playing there between 2008 and 2018, and an inquiry took place.

He was found to have been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying" by an independent panel while playing for the team - but Yorkshire CCC said this conduct does not warrant "disciplinary action".

Today, Lord Patel said: "As I said in the press conference yesterday we need to listen to anyone who has experienced racism, discrimination and abuse at this cricket club, and I urge others to come forward to share their experiences.

"We are aware that, since I spoke yesterday, a number of allegations have been made from individuals about their experiences in the media. These need to be properly investigated.

"I announced that an independent whistleblowing hotline will be set up as quickly as possible, as a safe space for people to come forward with disclosures.

"Once it is operational - and I have asked for this to happen by the end of this week - this will be the first step to a new and dedicated process to receive and to respond directly to all allegations and concerns."

It was confirmed that Mr Gale was suspended "pending a disciplinary hearing following an historical tweet", after reports he used an anti-Semitic word on Twitter 11 years ago.

The club added that Mr Moxon will be given "the necessary support" while he's away.

As well as Rafiq, former chair Roger Hutton has called for Mr Moxon to resign - as did Culture Minister Chris Philp.

Mr Philp said: "This must be a watershed moment for cricket. The government will now closely scrutinise the actions of the ECB…and we're going to scrutinise the actions that Yorkshire County Cricket Club takes in response to these damning allegations.

"The investigations I've referred to need to be thorough, they need to be transparent and they need to be public - that is necessary to restore the public's belief in cricket and beyond.

"Parliament is watching, the government is watching and the country is watching.

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"We expect real action and the government stands ready to step in and take action if they do not put their own house in order.

"There were catastrophic failings of governance over many years at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, that is why it's right the chairman resigned and I think, if there is anybody left from that regime they should resign as well."

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