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ECB suspend Yorkshire from hosting international or major matches over racism row

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Yorkshire has been banned from hosting international and major matches in wake of Azeem Rafiq racism investigation

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ECB suspend Yorkshire from hosting international or major matches over racism row

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SportsCafe Desk

11/05/2021

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has banned Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in light of Azeem Rafiq racism investigation. The decision came after Gary Ballance admitted of using a racial slur against Rafiq, a player of Pakistan descent and former England U19 captain.

The ECB has banned Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches, including The Hundred final, owing to the club's handling of allegations of racism from their former player Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent made numerous allegations about his time at the club, revealing that he was subject to racist abuse, bullying and harassment. In his claims, Rafiq had mentioned of a senior player repeatedly calling him "P***" at the time. ECB’s decision came a day after Gary Ballance, a senior Yorkshire player confessed of him being the aforementioned player.

"I deeply regret some of the language I used in my younger years," Ballance had said in his statement.

The board elaborated on its sanctions.

"It is clear to the Board that YCCC's handling of the issues raised by Azeem Rafiq is wholly unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game," the ECB statement read. "The ECB find this matter abhorrent and against the spirit of cricket and its values.

"There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination in cricket and where it is found, swift action must be taken. This matter must be dealt with robustly if the sport is to demonstrate its commitment to truly being a game for everyone.

"Given recent events, it is clear there are serious questions regarding the governance and management of YCCC. The club's failure in relation to actions and responses to their own report represent a significant breach of its obligations to the game."

Ballance has been indefinitely suspended from England selection.

"The ECB's action in taking international cricket away from Yorkshire should act as a short, sharp shock to bring the club to its senses,” Julian Knight MP, the DCMS select committee chair, said. “Like the rest of us, I imagine the members of Yorkshire County Cricket Club will be questioning why the board is still in place.

"As for Mr Ballance, I'm choosing at this time not to comment on the specifics of the case. However, it would have been completely unacceptable if they had left him eligible for selection for the England cricket team."

The club was slated to host the third Test against New Zealand at Headingley in June next year, an ODI against South Africa and an Ashes Test in 2023. Being the host venue of Northern Superchargers, it was also looked as a potential venue for The Hundred knockouts.

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