Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton has resigned amid the fallout from Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations against the English cricket club.
“Today I announce my resignation as chairman of Yorkshire county cricket club, with immediate effect,” Hutton said in a statement.
“There has been a constant unwillingness from the executive members of the board and senior management at the club to apologise, and to accept that there was racism, and to look forward. For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge.”
On Thursday, Yorkshire were suspended from hosting international matches as punishment for their handling of the racism case that has shaken the sport.
The England and Wales Cricket board slammed the club for its “wholly unacceptable” response to the racism faced by former player Rafiq.
A number of Yorkshire’s sponsors have deserted the beleaguered club, and the ECB said the case was “causing serious damage to the reputation of the game”.
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“The ECB finds this matter abhorrent and against the spirit of cricket and its values,” the governing body said in a statement.
Yorkshire’s Headingley Stadium was scheduled to host England’s Test against New Zealand and a men’s one-day international against South Africa in 2022, as well as an Ashes Test against Australia in 2023.
But the ECB said the club was “suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue”.
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Yorkshire said last month that they would not take any disciplinary action against any of their employees, players or executives despite a report that found that Rafiq — one of their former captains — was the victim of racial harassment and bullying.
Rafiq, a former England under-19 captain, said in interviews last year that as a Muslim he was made to feel like an “outsider” during his time at Yorkshire from 2008-2018 and that he was close to taking his own life.
A formal independent investigation was commissioned by Yorkshire into more than 40 allegations made by Rafiq, with seven of them upheld in a report released last month.
Former England cricketer Gary Ballance admitted this week to using a racial slur against Rafiq when they were teammates at Yorkshire, but said that “this was a situation where best friends said offensive things to each other which, outside of that context, would be considered wholly inappropriate”.