Azeem Rafiq: Former Yorkshire cricketer says backlash he has faced as a racism whistleblower has deterred other victims | Cricket News

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After a DCMS report finds there is ‘deep-rooted’ racism within cricket, Azim Rafeeq says he is encouraged that the commission took the issue seriously.

After a DCMS report finds there is ‘deep-rooted’ racism within cricket, Azim Rafeeq says he is encouraged that the commission took the issue seriously.

Azim Rafeeq says the “terrible” backlash he faced as a whistleblower of racism in cricket has deterred many other victims of abuse from coming forward.

Sports were warned Friday to “clean up their work” on racism or face a cut in government funding, following a report by the Commission on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Rafeeq, who gave emotional testimony to the commission in November about the racist abuse he faced during two terms in Yorkshire starting in 2008 and ending in 2018, praised the report.

Representative Julian Knight, chair of the committee, said in the report that attempts to “discredit” Rafeek throughout the process were indicative of the challenges facing the sport.

DCMS chair Julian Knight says an independent regulator could be introduced if the ECB fails to tackle issues within cricket, such as racism towards a great comrade in Yorkshire

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DCMS chair Julian Knight says an independent regulator could be introduced if the ECB fails to tackle issues within cricket, such as racism towards a great comrade in Yorkshire

DCMS chair Julian Knight says an independent regulator could be introduced if the ECB fails to tackle issues within cricket, such as racism towards a great comrade in Yorkshire

Shortly after the November session, The Times published messages sent by Rafiq in a 2011 exchange on social media containing anti-Semitic comments. Rafeeq apologized to the Jewish community and said he was continuing to improve his “understanding”.

While Rafeeq agrees with the veracity of the criticism and scrutiny he faced because of those letters, he says there have been “terrible” and “ridiculous” attempts to discredit him.

“The only thing I really want to capture is the anti-Semitic messages that surfaced, which I sent when I was younger,” a companion told Sky Sports News on Friday.

“It is something I deeply regret, I am angry with myself, but I apologize to the Jewish community, they have been incredibly kind and I am spending more time with them trying to bridge this gap in my understanding of the Jewish community.

“But a lot of other things that happened behind the scenes, and kept happening, were just really awful. They were ridiculous, some made-up lies, some attempts to make my life difficult.”

“What I did was deter a lot of people from coming forward and I feel like that’s what the system tried to do and it did. But I have one message – they can throw anything they want at me, I won’t. Back off this topic.

“I’m not perfect but none of this excuses the abuse I’ve been exposed to and many other people have suffered on a daily basis in-game. It appears in the report that there have been attempts behind the scenes, I believe some of the committee received calls in the last few hours, the night before the hearing Listen, try to denigrate me and talk about my character, but like I said, none of this justifies racism.”

Advancement must be organic

The DCMS Select Committee report called on the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to develop a set of key indicators and provide quarterly updates to the committee on progress, or face a cut in government funding.

The report stated that “the future public finances of cricket depend on demonstrable sustained progress in de-racism”.

This came on the heels of the European Central Bank’s publication in November of a game-wide 12-point plan to tackle discrimination. Its chief executive Tom Harrison has described allegations of racism made by Rafeeq and other players as an “earthquake” in cricket.

In November, the European Central Bank published a game-wide 12-point plan to tackle discrimination

In November, the European Central Bank published a game-wide 12-point plan to tackle discrimination

The plan includes a dressing room culture review, diversity training for all involved in the sport, a governance review, a campaign to remove barriers to playing cricket at the highest level, local equality, diversity and inclusion for clubs, districts and government bodies and a study of how stadiums can be made more welcoming to people from diverse backgrounds.

When asked about his definition of progress, Rafeeq said, “I think it should be organic.

“It’s important that we don’t look for quick, quick reactions, which I see a lot of counties trying to do, kind of going out there trying to talk to a lot of people and giving them little jobs to try and keep their silence – that’s not the way forward.

“I think we need a lot of education down below, right at the beginning – the grassroots, and then organically as the players get more education of each other’s cultures, more understanding, and that will build respect and as they get older together, hopefully within four To five years to get to a place where cricket is a welcoming place for everyone.”

“Headingley’s internationals will show their support for change”

Rafik reiterated his support for allowing Headingley Stadium in Yorkshire to host international cricket this summer, explaining that the change must be supported at the club.

Since the European Central Bank in November suspended Yorkshire from hosting international players, former Chairman Roger Hutton and CEO Mark Arthur have resigned, while another 16 staff members have been sacked.

The new county chief, Lord Patel, warned this week that there would be a “huge financial crisis” for the club if it was not allowed to host England’s men’s Test match against New Zealand in June and the ODI match against South Africa in July. .

Yorkshire FC chairman Lord Patel admits it would be disastrous if Test cricket did not return to Headingley

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Yorkshire FC chairman Lord Patel admits it would be disastrous if Test cricket did not return to Headingley

Yorkshire FC chairman Lord Patel admits it would be disastrous if Test cricket did not return to Headingley

“I’m not saying she needs to go back indefinitely without any review,” Rafeeq said. “They need to be kept in check, they have to be kept in check for a good few years, and if they get out of line, remove them.

“I think when you ask people and organizations to change, if they accept that and are willing to change, I think it is important that we support that rather than make it more difficult. Everything I have seen from Lord Patel since then has come to show me that there is a great willingness to change, And if there was a desire for it, I think we should support that because in the end all we wanted was a better and more comprehensive game.

“If international cricket is delayed, I think that will delay that change, so I think we should do everything possible to try to support Yorkshire.”

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