Yorkshire President Roger Hutton has resigned over the club’s response to the racism experienced by former player Azeem Rafiq.
Hutton, who had been under increasing pressure to resign, “apologized wholeheartedly” to Rafiq, 30.
He said the club “should have recognized the serious accusations of racism at the time.”
Hutton added that in Yorkshire he had “experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge.”
He was also highly critical of the Cricket Board of England and Wales (ECB), claiming that the governing body “refused to help”.
His resignation came before an emergency board meeting Friday in which Hutton was expected to face calls to resign. More resignations are expected, and Hutton says “some” non-executive board members have already left their posts.
It comes after an investigation found that Rafiq was the victim of “racial harassment and intimidation,” but the club said it would not take any disciplinary action.
On Thursday Yorkshire they were discontinued to host England matches by the ECB.
The ECB said it was “clear” that Yorkshire’s handling of the issue is “totally unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game.”
Hutton said that when he learned of Rafiq’s allegations, he “immediately approached” the ECB “to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust investigation,” but there was a “reluctance to act.”
The ECB has been contacted for comment.
Hutton calls on board members to resign
In a statement, Hutton said: “I would like to take this opportunity to fully apologize to Azeem.
“I regret that we were unable to persuade the executive members of the board to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and to show care and contrition.
“There has been a constant unwillingness on the part of the executive members of the board and the club’s top management to apologize and accept [there was] racism and look forward.
“During my time as president, I take responsibility for not being able to persuade them to take appropriate and timely action.
“This frustration has been shared by all non-executive members of the board, some of whom have also resigned.”
Hutton asked the executive members of the board to also resign “to open a new path for the club that I love so much.”
Speaking on the ECB, Hutton, who will be questioned by MPs alongside senior Yorkshire officials and Rafiq on November 16, added: “I was saddened when they refused to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance to the game. as a whole. .
“It is a matter of constancy that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB’s reluctance to act.”
Hutton, a longtime Yorkshire fan and local lawyer, took office in April 2020 and said he “never met Azeem and was not at the club during the period he was employed.”
Speaking on Thursday, Julian Knight MP, chairman of the select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said he expected the sanctions imposed by the ECB “to act as a short and sharp shock to bring the club to its senses.”
“Like the rest of us, I imagine members of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club will be questioning why the board is still in place,” he added.
Many companies have cut their ties to Yorkshire, including kit maker Nike, title sponsor Emerald Publishing and Yorkshire Tea.
Rafiq report timeline
September 2, 2020: Following a initial interview with Wisden, ESPN Cricinfo publishes an article with Rafiq in which he claims that “institutional racism” at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club left him on the brink of taking his life.
September 3, 2020: Yorkshire says have launched a “formal investigation” into the claims made by Rafiq and President Roger Hutton says the club will undertake a “broader review” of its “policies and culture”
September 5, 2020: Yorkshire ask an independent law firm to investigate allegations of racism against the club by Rafiq.
November 13, 2020: Rafiq says he hopes to make a “significant change” after giving his first statement to the investigation.
December 15, 2020: Rafiq files a legal claim against Yorkshire “alleging direct discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, as well as victimization and prejudice as a result of trying to address racism at the club.”
February 2, 2021: Yorkshire threatens a lifetime ban for anyone who has made threats against Rafiq or his family and legal team, after ESPN Cricinfo showed them the messages sent to Rafiq’s law firm.
June 17, 2021: A case before a labor court between Rafiq and his former Yorkshire club does not find a solution. The independent investigation into his accusations of racism is ongoing.
August 16, 2021: Yorkshire receives the finds from an independent investigation into the racism allegations and, two days later, the Cricket Board of England and Wales (ECB) ask for a copy.
August 19, 2021: Yorkshire has yet to release the report’s findings at this stage, to admit Rafiq was “the victim of inappropriate behavior” and offered his “deep apologies”.
Rafiq accuses Yorkshire of downplaying racism calling him a victim of “inappropriate behavior”.
September 8, 2021: MPs tell Yorkshire publish the findings of the report “immediately”.
September 10, 2021: Yorkshire publishes the report’s findings, which says that Rafiq was “a victim of racial harassment and intimidation” and seven of the 43 allegations made by the player were confirmed by an independent panel.
According to Hutton, the report said there was “insufficient evidence to conclude that the Yorkshire County Cricket Club is institutionally racist.”
Yorkshire released a summary of the report and the panel’s recommendations, but said the full report could not be published for legal reasons “in relation to privacy law and defamation.”
October 8, 2021: Yorkshire misses a deadline send the full report to Rafiq and his legal team after BBC Sport learned that an employment judge ordered the club to publish it in full before Friday 8 October.
October 13, 2021: Rafiq then receives a heavily redacted version, while the ECB says it is still waiting for the full report.
October 28, 2021: Yorkshire says it conducted its own internal investigation after the report’s findings. and concluded that “there is no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives that justifies disciplinary action.”
November 2, 2021: The select committee for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport asks Hutton to appear before it to answer questions about Yorkshire’s handling of a report on Rafiq’s accusations of racism.
MP Knight, Chair of the DCMS Select Committee, calls on the Yorkshire County Cricket Club Board of Directors to resign after a leaked report emerges that apparently contains details of the investigation into Rafiq’s treatment.
A story published by ESPN says the report had concluded that a racially offensive term used toward Rafiq was considered a “joke.”
Knight makes his comments after Health Secretary Javid called for “heads to roll” in Yorkshire and said that if the ECB did not take action “it is not fit for purpose”. He further states in a Twitter post that the term allegedly used to describe Rafiq was “no joke.”
The ECB announces that it will carry out a “full” investigation into the situation.
November 3, 2021: The DCMS hearing date is scheduled for November 16 and Rafiq is called to testify in person, together with senior Yorkshire officials.
Various sponsors, including title sponsor Emerald Publishing and Yorkshire Tea, end their associations with the Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
Current Yorkshire hitter Gary Ballance releases a lengthy statement expressing regret for using a racial slur against his former teammate Rafiq.
November 4, 2021: The ECB board suspends Yorkshire from hosting international matches.
Kit supplier Nike ends the four-year contract, announced in March 2021.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan says it was named in the report, but “totally denies any accusations of racism.”
November 5, 2021: Yorkshire president Roger Hutton resigns over the club’s response and apologizes “unreservedly” to Rafiq.