Me and my family have been driven out of the country: Azeem Rafiq over the Yorkshire racism scandal

WION Web Team
LondonUpdated: Dec 13, 2022, 07:34 PM IST
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Azeem Rafiq claims cricket is still "in denial" over the racism scandal Photograph:(AFP)

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Rafiq, along with his wife, children and parents moved to Pakistan last month to avoid abuse and intimidation

More than a year after shining light on the 'institutional racism' at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, former cricket Azeem Rafiq has said that cricket is 'still in denial'. 

"If I was to look at 13 months on from me opening my heart out, all that's changed really is that me and my family have been driven out of the country. And that's a sad element of it," Rafiq was quoted as saying by AFP. 

"I would love to come here and tell you how much cricket has changed, but unfortunately what it feels like is that cricket is very much in denial."

It was first reported in October that the ex-Yorkshire spinner was planning to move overseas to protect his family from further abuse and intimidation. A month later, Rafiq, along with his wife, children and parents moved to Pakistan. 

Rafiq added he had some hope in the new England Cricket Board (ECB) leadership "but it's very little at the minute". 

Rafiq grabbed attention in November 2020 after he told British lawmakers that he lost his cricketing career to racism. The 31-year-old detailed discrimination within the English game in a compelling testimony. 

He filed a legal complaint in December 2020 claiming to have suffered direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race. 

In August 2021, the Yorkshire Cricket Club released a statement and accepted that Rafiq had fallen prey to racism within the club. 

"Several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that sadly, historically, Azeem was the victim of inappropriate behaviour. This is clearly unacceptable. We would like to express our profound apologies for this."

Despite the apology, the Yorkshire club refused to take action against anyone. former England captain Michael Vaughan was one of the few people to publically apologise to Rafiq. 

Afterwards, Rafiq's old anti-semitic messages surfaced and his testimony and crusade against racism was dealt a blow. 

(With inputs from agencies)