Cricket racism: Five more clubs embroiled in scandal, Azeem Rafiq tells LBC

17 November 2021, 20:10 | Updated: 18 November 2021, 09:37

Nick Ferrari spoke to Azeem Rafiq over his allegations of racial harassment
Nick Ferrari spoke to Azeem Rafiq over his allegations of racial harassment. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A former cricketer whose allegations of racism have engulfed the sport has told LBC how players at five more county clubs have contacted him in the wake of his whistleblowing.

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Ex-Yorkshire bowler Azeem Rafiq has shocked the sport with his experiences of racial harassment and discrimination, with the sportsman fighting back tears as he gave evidence to MPs on Tuesday.

He appeared at a parliamentary committee where he made fresh allegations against a raft of high-profile cricketers, including ex-England players Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan and Matthew Hoggard.

And speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Rafiq said racism issues extended beyond counties like Essex, whose chairman recently resigned, and added that "it's a problem up and down the country".

Nick asked Mr Rafiq: "How many players from how many other counties have contacted you in the last few days?"

"Since yesterday, I think I've had five guys from five different counties contact me."

Nick said: "You know what I'm going to ask you, Azeem."

"I do, but obviously it's not going to be fair for me to go into the counties or the players," Mr Rafiq said.

"I just think it's a problem up and down the country."

Last year, Mr Rafiq made allegations he was subjected to racial harassment during his time at Yorkshire. His first stint was between 2008 and 2014 and his second came between 2016 and 2018.

Read more: Azeem Rafiq: Caller tells LBC he was afraid to get on a train after racist attack

Read more: England cricket stars apologise to Azeem Rafiq after 'disturbing' racism allegations

Yorkshire started an investigation but was criticised for how long it took to complete a report, and then failing to publish it.

The summary of the investigation said there was "no question" Mr Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying during his time with the club but said there was not enough evidence that Yorkshire was institutionally racist.

No disciplinary action was begun against any people over the allegations, and in November, ESPNCricinfo reported that the investigation found the repeated use of the word "P***" by a teammate at Mr Rafiq was "friendly banter".

John Faragher resigned as Essex chairman on November 12 after a historic allegation of racist language used by him at a 2017 board meeting.

Nick asked Mr Rafiq: "But there are five other counties including Essex?

The ex-cricketer said: "Yeah, look we've heard about Essex, Essex is already in the public domain.

"And it's the messages I've not read yet, I'm not even sure about, we've just heard that the (Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket) Commission's had over 1,000 complaints, over a thousand people reaching out."

In a far-reaching interview, Mr Rafiq talked to Nick about Michael Vaughan, whether he will ever go back to Headingley and if he'd want his son to get into cricket.

Listen to the full interview on Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, live on LBC from 7am.