Yorkshires new chairman issues apology to whistleblower Azeem Rafiq

Yorkshire County Cricket Club 's new chairman has paid tribute to Azeem Rafiq 's "bravery in speaking out" over the racism and bullying allegations which have rocked the club and the wider sport.

Lord Patel revealed the club has settled an employment tribunal with the 30-year-old, who spent two separate spells with Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018.

During that time, it has been revealed, Rafiq was repeatedly referred to as a P*** by a team-mate.

A team of lawyers put together a report in which they accepted there was evidence that Rafiq was offended by the slurs and that it was enough to amount to harassment under the Equality Act.

However, a panel charged with finding recommendations from the report disagreed and described the abuse as "banter".

It led to a swathe of sponsors cutting ties with the club, the ECB levying sanctions and the resignation of former chairman Roger Hutton.

His replacement Patel has vowed to "regain trust and rebuild relationships", and hailed Rafiq's decision to come forward and shine a light on the situation and has now publicly apologised to the spin bowler.

"Azeem is a whistleblower and should be praised as such, he should never have been put through this," Patel said at a press conference.

"We're sorry for what you and your family have experienced and the way in which we've handled this.

"I thank Azeem for his bravery in speaking out. Let me be clear from the outset, racism or discrimination in any form is not banter."

Speaking of the separate employment tribunal, Patel added: "Absolutely no restrictions have been placed on Azeem on what he can or cannot say about his experiences.

"The settlement does not involve a non-disclosure agreement."

Patel also said he was also commissioning a specialist independent review of the county's processes and procedures on diversity and inclusion.

He went on to say he had spoken to the ECB about the restoration of international cricket – one of the sanctions put in place by the governing body – but that Yorkshire would have to "address the root causes" that had led to the suspension.

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