Lord Patel named new Yorkshire cricket boss after Roger Hutton quits in race storm over Rafiq 'P***' slur
YORKSHIRE have appointed Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford as their new director and chair after Roger Hutton resigned this morning.
Hutton announced his departure on Friday morning and urged Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon to follow him out the door.
He accused Arthur and former England batsman Moxon of standing in the way of his attempts to reform the club.
And Hutton said the ECB were too slow to respond to his requests for help after Rafiq’s claims of bullying and racism.
Hutton became chairman in April 2020 – after Rafiq had left his second spell at the county.
Upon his appointment, Lord Patel said: "'I'm looking forward to taking this club forward and driving the change that is needed.
"The club needs to learn from its past errors, regain trust and rebuild relationships with our communities.
""There is much work to do, including reading the panel's report, so we can begin the process of learning from our past mistakes.
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"Yorkshire is lucky to have a vast talent pool of cricketers, and passionate supporters, from all of our communities and we must re-engage with everyone to make a better Yorkshire County Cricket Club for everyone."
Yorkshire were on Thursday suspended from hosting international and other big matches at Headingley while most of their sponsors have turned their backs on the county.
The losses for an already cash-strapped club are expected to be around £13million.
In his departure statement, Hutton said: “I want to be clear that when I was made aware of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations, I immediately reached out to the ECB to ask for their help and intervention to support a robust inquiry.
“I was saddened when they declined to help as I felt it was a matter of great importance for the game as a whole. It is a matter of record that I have continually expressed my frustration at the ECB's reluctance to act.”
With regard to Arthur and Moxon, who are executive members of Yorkshire’s board of directors, Hutton insisted: “For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge.
“There has been a constant unwillingness from the executive members of the Board and senior management at the club to apologise and to accept racism and to look forward.
I now call for those executive members of the Board to resign
“During my time as chairman, I take responsibility for failing to persuade them to take appropriate and timely action. This frustration has been shared by all of the non-executive members of the Board, some of whom have also now resigned.
“I now call for those executive members of the Board to resign, to make way for a new path for the Club I love so much.
“I am sorry that we could not persuade executive members of the Board to recognise the gravity of the situation and show care and contrition.
“I remain disappointed that legal restrictions, including an ongoing employment tribunal, have prevented the investigation report from being published and look forward to the time that everyone can see its recommendations. I hope for it to be published as soon as possible.
“Azeem left the club in August 2018 – 18 months before I joined. I have never met Azeem. I know however, that when someone makes claims as serious as his, they need to be investigated and changes need to be made.
“I would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly to Azeem. The club should have recognised at the time the serious allegations of racism.”
Former chair Colin Graves, the previous chair of the ECB whose family trust has a multi-million pound stake in Headingley, wants to take over.
But his appointment might be considered unacceptable because he was at the county during the period of some of Azeem’s allegations of racism.
Former Yorkshire player Gary Ballance admitted using a racial slur against Rafiq this week, with a club report deeming comments of this nature to have been made 'in the spirit of friendly banter'.
Ex-England star Monty Panesar slammed the use of racist terms being passed off as 'banter', while accusing bosses of 'completely mishandling' the matter.
Fuming Health Secretary Sajid Javid said 'heads should roll' after it emerged a Yorkshire panel determined the repeated use of the word ‘P**i’ against spinner Rafiq was 'banter'.
Rafiq is scheduled to give evidence to MPs in person on November 16 as part of a probe into his allegations.
Former Yorkshire and England captain Michael Vaughan has revealed that he was named in Yorkshire's internal report but 'totally denies any allegation of racism'.
Vaughan said he was alleged to have told Rafiq and two other Asian players as they walked onto the field together that there were 'too many of you lot, we need to do something about it'.
He denies making the comment.
Vaughan wrote in his Telegraph column: "I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words.
"I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person."
The former England captain added that Yorkshire have dealt with the controversy 'terribly'.
Vaughan wrote: "It is clear that Azeem has endured a lot.
"It is not only right but essential that his experiences and his perspective are heard. There are unquestionably lessons to be learned.
"Yorkshire have dealt with this terribly. It is a good cricket club and… I hope I can be part of the movement to rebrand the club and people will eventually look back on this time and say it changed for the better."
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