Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate whether ‘deeply concerning’ incidents of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club were illegal

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has said it is “deeply concerned about the incidents of racism” at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and will look at whether any laws have been broken.

The commission has written to the club “to ask for more information, including a full copy of their investigation report, to determine if there has been a breach of the law”, chief executive Marcial Boo said.

Yorkshire and the wider sport are mired in allegations of racism and how such complaints are handled.

Former Yorkshire spin-bowler Azeem Rafiq was found to have been a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” while playing for the team – but the club decided no player, employee or executive should face action.

A report by the team included an admission by one senior player that he used the word “P***” in relation to Rafiq, which on at least one occasion reduced the player to tears.

Yorkshire had concluded that the incidents amounted to “friendly banter” and had said it “does not accept” that Mr Rafiq was offended by the comments.

On Thursday, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended the club from hosting international or major matches after the “wholly unacceptable” handling of racial harassment claims.

It comes as Yorkshire said they are investigating separate racism allegations made by an Asian cricketer who was a former academy player for the county.

The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims a Yorkshire team-mate urinated on his head and also alleges he heard senior players talking about desecrating a Muslim prayer mat.

The allegations were made in a lengthy statement.

A Yorkshire statement in response read: “This kind of behaviour would be completely unacceptable to the club.

“Now we are aware of it, it goes without saying that we will investigate the allegation thoroughly.”

Roger Hutton resigned as Yorkshire County Cricket Club chair over the organisation’s response to the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Mr Boo said in his statement: “As Britain’s equality regulator, we are deeply concerned about the incidents of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“We have written to YCCC to ask for more information, including a full copy of their investigation report, to determine if there has been a breach of the law.

“We will take action if so.”

Mr Boo said “all employers have a duty to protect their employees from bullying and harassment”, adding that the commission met the English Cricket Board in April to discuss how this can be achieved in the sport.

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