Azeem Rafiq: Yorkshire cricket's entire coaching team leave club in wake of racism scandal

3 December 2021, 12:14 | Updated: 3 December 2021, 13:11

Director of cricket Martyn Moxon and first team coach Andrew Gayle are among 16 members of the coaching team to leave Yorkshire County Cricket club.
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon and first team coach Andrew Gayle are among 16 members of the coaching team to leave Yorkshire County Cricket club. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Sophie Barnett

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Yorkshire County Cricket Club have confirmed director of cricket Martyn Moxon, head coach Andrew Gale and the entire coaching team have left the club in the wake of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

It follows former player Azeem Rafiq's testimony to MPs on "institutional" racism at the club - with his revelations sending shockwaves through English cricket.

The 30-year-old shared experiences of racial harassment and discrimination during his time at Yorkshire, during a first stint between 2008 and 2014 and a second time between 2016 and 2018.

An ESPNCricinfo report said that an investigation by Yorkshire found the repeated use of the slur "P***", used by a teammate at Rafiq, was "friendly banter".

The former cricketer said he was close to taking his own life as he detailed the "inhuman" treatment he encountered to the the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, adding he felt "isolated, humiliated at times".

Read more: Watch in full: Nick Ferrari interviews Azeem Rafiq

Read more: Yorkshire County Cricket coach suspended over 'historic tweet'

The club has been heavily criticised for its handling of the affair and an independent review into governance at the county is underway.

The club's first-team coach, Andrew Gale, was suspended in November "pending a disciplinary hearing" over a historic tweet.

Gale had previously told the Jewish News that he had been "completely unaware" of the meaning of an offensive, anti-Semitic word he used in a historic and subsequently deleted tweet, after the newspaper reported the story.

Meanwhile, Martyn Moxon, the club's director of cricket, has been absent from work due to a "stress related illness".

Read more: Yorkshire County Cricket Club appoint new chairman amid racism storm

There had been calls for Moxon to resign in recent weeks, over Yorkshire's handling of the racism allegations by Rafiq - who claimed many of those in the coaching staff had been part of the problem.

Rafiq previously said: "They have consistently failed to take responsibility for what happened on their watch and must go. I urge them to do the right thing and resign to make way for those who will do what is needed for the club's future."

The chairman of the club, Roger Hutton, resigned following the revelation, with Lord Patel taking over as both chair and director.

In recent weeks, Rafiq came under fire after antisemitic messages he sent in 2011 emerged online.

In a social media post, the former bowlersaid: "I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today. I have gone back to check my account and it is me – I have absolutely no excuses.

"I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.

"I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this."

It comes after The Times uncovered messages sent to Ateeq Javid, the former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player, in which Rafiq is seen making disparaging comments about an unnamed Jewish person.

Board of Deputies of British Jews president Marie Van Der Zyl said: "Azeem Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket so he will well understand the hurt this exchange will cause to Jews who have supported him.

"His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere."