Azeem Rafiq to provide fresh testimony on racism in cricket to DCMS committee

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Azeem Rafiq is poised to provide fresh testimony to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday concerning racism in cricket.

The former Yorkshire bowler will return before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee 13 months on from his first appearance, where he outlined the racial abuse and harassment he had suffered during his career.

The 31-year-old is expected to outline the abuse and attacks he and his family have faced since that first appearance, and his views on how the cricket authorities have handled his case.

The case is due to be heard by a Cricket Discipline Committee (CDC) panel but that has already been delayed by a dispute over how the hearing should take place.

Rafiq has consistently spoken of his desire for the hearing, at which he would be the key witness, to take place in public, with Yorkshire and ultimately backing a public hearing too.

The CDC panel announced on November 3 that the hearing would take place in public, starting on November 28.

However, an appeal was lodged against that decision and the revised date for the hearing, and whether it will now be held in public or private, is unclear.

Rafiq moved to Pakistan with his family last month over fears regarding his safety. The PA news agency understands Rafiq’s team is sending documentary evidence to the committee ahead of Tuesday’s hearing outlining some of the threats and abuse he has received since his first appearance before MPs.

Rafiq told PA last month he believes cricket’s response to his allegations are an indication that institutional racism still exists within the sport.

“People actually don’t know what institutional racism is – one of the definitions is not having the procedures and processes (in place) to deal with grievances or allegations,” he said.

“The fact that we’re still here two years on and there are still question marks as to what’s happening and what’s not happening, just shows that is the case.”

Asked if cricket had changed in the time since his appearance before the DCMS committee, Rafiq told PA in November: “No. At Yorkshire there’s obviously an attempt to go in the right direction, and it shows that leadership matters. But you’ve seen the way Lord Patel (the county’s new chair) has been treated.

“He is a Lord, he’s worked in drug addiction and social care. He’s worked in helping save people’s lives, and he’s being treated the way he’s been treated. What chance have any of us got?”

Lord Kamlesh Patel, who was appointed as Yorkshire chair in November last year after sporting and political pressure mounted against the county’s existing leadership over their handling of Rafiq’s allegations, is due to appear before MPs an hour before Rafiq from 10am on Tuesday morning.

In an open letter published on his club’s website last month, Patel wrote about the “sustained and personal attacks” he had faced.

“We do not want to stoop to that level, but it does make me question the interest specific parties have in the long-term health of the club – over their own self-interest and desire for things to go back to how they were,” he added.

“The lack of anger from those same individuals towards those who failed to address the clear issues raised by Azeem Rafiq has been notable.

“There is still much to do to make us a club of which we can be truly proud. But with the structure and people we now have in place, I have the strongest faith that we will come together through our determination to be back at the pinnacle of English cricket for the long term.”

The committee will also hear from former Essex player Jahid Ahmed, who has alleged he was the victim of bullying and discrimination at the club due to his ethnicity and religion.

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