Yorkshire County Cricket Club have been suspended from hosting England matches following the racism allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq.
Gary Ballance, who admitted using racial slurs against Rafiq, has also been suspended ‘indefinitely’ from international selection by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The ECB said in a statement: ‘It is clear to the board that Yorkshire’s handling of the issues raised by Azeem Rafiq is wholly unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game.
‘We find this matter abhorrent and against the spirit of cricket and its values.
‘There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination in cricket and where it is found, swift action must be taken. This matter must be dealt with robustly if the sport is to demonstrate its commitment to truly being a game for everyone.’
Rafiq played for Yorkshire in two spells between 2008 and 2018 and his boyhood club of ‘institutional racism’ more than a year ago.
The 30-year-old said the abuse left him close to taking his own life, and an independent report found that he had been the victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’.
But it emerged earlier in the week that Rafiq being called a ‘P***’ was dismissed as ‘friendly and good-natured banter’ by Yorkshire, with no staff members facing any punishment.
Yorkshire are due to host a Test match against New Zealand and a one-day international against South Africa next summer, but the ECB say the suspension will last until the club has ‘clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected’.
Kit suppliers Nike and several sponsors – including Yorkshire Tea – have cut ties with the club in the fall-out from the racism scandal.
More to follow…
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