Entire coaching staff at Yorkshire County Cricket Club leave after racism scandal

Yorkshire Country Cricket Club. Editorial credit: JD Leeds / Shutterstock.com

As the racism scandals in English cricket rage on, the entire coaching staff at Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC), including the director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, and head coach, Andrew Gale, left the club on Friday.

A YCCC statement read: “We can confirm that Martyn Moxon, Director of Cricket, and Andrew Gale, First XI Coach, have left the Club today, in addition to all members of the coaching team.

“A new Director of Cricket will be appointed imminently, alongside a new coaching team which is being recruited. We thank everyone who is leaving for their service. Further announcements will be made in due course.”

The club came under immense pressure after Azeem Rafiq spoke about the racism and Islamophobia he experienced at YCCC. After the allegations surfaced, several sponsors like Yorkshire Tea, Tetley’s and David Lloyd Clubs scrapped their relationships with the club.

Chair of YCCC, Lord Patel, added: “Significant change is required at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and we are committed to taking whatever action is necessary to regain trust.

“The decisions announced today were difficult to make, but are in the best interests of the club. Without making important changes to how we are run, we cannot move on from the past to become a culture which is progressive and inclusive.

“We want to make Yorkshire County Cricket Club a place for everyone, from all backgrounds. To do this, we need to rebuild our culture and instil positive values in everyone associated with Yorkshire. We are determined to learn from the mistakes of the past to become a club which people can trust.

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“We are hoping to announce a new Director of Cricket in the coming days. We have a huge rebuilding job to do but we are confident that this heralds a step forward towards a brighter future.”

Azeem Rafiq at the DCMS hearing with MPs [Screengrab: YouTube]
Reacting to the departures, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Selection Committee (DCMS). Chair Julian Knight MP said: “We welcome the announcement by Yorkshire County Cricket Club on the departure of its entire coaching staff.

“The experience of Azeem Rafiq at YCCC demanded no less. On Tuesday we will be discussing racism in cricket with the National Asian Cricket Council and considering the ECB’s 12-point plan to tackle it.”

Earlier, Knight had tweeted: “Given the endemic racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, I struggle to think of any reason why that the board should remain in post. This is one of the most repellent and disturbing episodes in modern cricket history.”

After the allegations made by Rafiq, YCCC put out a statement that stated: “The club has also carried out their own internal investigation following the findings in the report after which they are able to report that they have come to the conclusion that there is no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives that warrant disciplinary action.

“It was important for Azeem to raise the issues and without him doing so we would not have the panel’s recommendations which are an important part of the club’s continuing journey.”

Rafiq in his testimony said: “At my worst, I was right on the edge, stood on my balcony. I would regularly come home from training or nights out with the team and cry. It was a very difficult time for me.”

He added: “In one of my first few games, we were going onto the field and there was me, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad, and Rana Naved and one of the senior players said, ‘There’s too many of you lot, it’s something we need to have a word about.

“We would be on nights out, I would be speaking to someone and I’d have teammates coming over and saying, ‘Don’t speak to him he’s a p**I”.

“Racism in cricket is deep-rooted. There were constant social events where I’d leave crying. Sometimes these things get disguised as banter but it’s always stuck with me.”

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