Nike cancels sponsorship deal with Yorkshire CCC over Azeem Rafiq racism case

Nike have become the latest sponsor to cut ties with Yorkshire over the Azeem Rafiq racism case.

The sportswear giant signed a four-year deal with the county back in March to become its official kit supplier, but they have ended the deal early.

In a statement, they said: "Nike will no longer be the kit supplier for Yorkshire CCC. We stand firmly against racism and discrimination of any kind."

Numerous other sponsors have also ended their association with the club, with Emerald Publishing, the title sponsor of Yorkshire's ground Headingley, announcing on Wednesday that they would no longer sponsor the county.

"We do not tolerate any form of racism or discriminatory behaviour and the damaging effects this has," a statement read.

"Our intention remains to continue a financial commitment to the stadium itself, which is also the home of Leeds Rhinos rugby, as we believe this supports the aims of diversity and inclusion in sport along with a range of charitable community endeavours. Emerald will however no longer sponsor Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

"We hope that YCCC will listen and respond with serious action to eradicate racism from the club and uphold the values we all expect."

Local tea brands Tetley and Yorkshire Tea have also cut ties with the club, along with David Lloyd Clubs, Harrogate Spring Water and Bagnalls.

First Leeds, meanwhile, have said they "do not tolerate any form of discrimination" and are "seeking to speak with the club at the earliest opportunity".

Leeds Beckett University, who have a campus at Headingley, have 'paused all currently planned activity with YCCC with immediate effect".

A statement from the University read: "Leeds Beckett University stands United against racism, and in our support for anyone who experiences racism.

"Although the issue is complex and we are not in possession of all the details, Yorkshire County Cricket Club's public statements to date suggest that its approach to the handling of these accusations is inconsistent with our values and culture.

"The university is pausing all currently planned activity with YCCC with immediate effect. There is no current financial sponsorship arrangement between the university and the club, and the university logo has been removed from the club website at our request.

"Our future relationship with YCCC will depend on what emerges from the ECB review and the evidence of meaningful change that the club commits to, to end racism.

"If it can do this, as we are seeking to do ourselves, then we would hope we can work together on a partnership that plays a positive role in our community in the future.

"We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the club about approach to this issue."

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