Tim Bresnan ‘categorically denies’ making racist comments towards Azeem Rafiq

Tim Bresnan has refuted allegations he made racist comments towards former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq spoke before a parliamentary select committee from the department for media, culture and sport on Monday where he detailed alleged racist abuse during his time at Yorkshire.

Among those accused was Bresnan, with Rafiq claiming in his witness statement that the former England bowler had 'frequently made racist comments'.

Rafiq also claimed he was one of 'six or seven' players to have made a bullying complaint against Bresnan due to his alleged behaviour.

Bresnan issued an apology to Rafiq over the bullying claims, but 'categorically denies' making racist comments.

In a statement, Bresnan said: "I have been made aware of the bullying claims made against me and have listened to Azeem Rafiq's account of his time at Yorkshire CCC today with great distress, as I'm sure everyone will have done.

"For any part I played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq's experience of feeling bullied at Yorkshire, I apologise unreservedly.

"Following the publication of Azeem's witness statement from the employment tribunal, which I saw for the first time this afternoon, I must though categorically deny his accusation that I 'frequently made racist comments'.

"This is absolutely not true."

Bresnan's statement comes after popular commentator David 'Bumble' Lloyd issued an apology to Rafiq over historic messages sent to a third party.

The former England coach was accused of attempting to smear Rafiq amid the 30-year-old's allegations of racism at Yorkshire.

"I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what's happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing," Rafiq said.

"High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like 'the club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don't go in there', 'getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone'.

"And then personally this guy doesn't even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.

"That was David Lloyd, he's been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that's what I got sent to me.

"And I thought, "Gosh, there's some closet racists and we need to do something about it".'

Lloyd has now taken to Twitter to issue an apology to Rafiq and 'the Asian cricket community'.

He wrote: "In October 2020, I had a private message exchange with a third party involved in cricket, about a number of topics," Lloyd said.

"In these messages, I referred to allegations about Azeem Rafiq which I had heard from within the game. I also made some comments about the Asian cricket community.

"I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.

"I am strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport. It is very obvious now that more work needs to be done and I will do everything I can to remove discrimination from the sport I love, and the sport that has been my life for over 50 years."

Sky, who employ Lloyd as a commentator on both international domestic cricket, have launched an investigation into the 74-year-old's comments.

They said in a statement: "Sky is committed to actively championing inclusion in cricket – and in all sports – and opposing all forms of discrimination. We will be investigating the comments attributed to David Lloyd in today's select committee hearing."

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