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HomeSportsRafiq faces racism after Yorkshire approves Graves-led loan

Rafiq faces racism after Yorkshire approves Graves-led loan

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FORMER Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq said he has received racist messages on social media following the club’s approval of a loan offer from a consortium headed by ex-chairman Colin Graves.

Yorkshire were fined £400,000 ($510,560) and handed a 48-point deduction in the County Championship last year after an investigation into racism allegations by Rafiq, who said in 2021 he had been a victim of institutional racism at the club.

Graves was chairman of the club between 2012-2015, part of the period during which Yorkshire was accused of failing to address, and take adequate action against, racist and discriminatory language.

Rafiq has been a vocal opponent of Graves’s return to the club and told the BBC in an interview published on Thursday (11) he was “struggling to understand how we’ve got here” and that he felt a mix of frustration and anger.

“It sends the message loud and clear to South Asians that cricket is not a welcoming and safe place for us,” added Rafiq, who has previously said the culture of racism at Yorkshire drove him to the brink of suicide.

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“I’ve woken up this morning to a barrage of abuse – racist, Islamophobic, all sorts of things I’ve had in my DMs – this is what (Graves’ return) empowers. It empowers those idiots out there who feel they can be openly racist.”

Graves has denied knowledge of racist behaviour during his tenure at Yorkshire. He previously suggested that some of the incidents were “banter” but on Thursday issued an apology to anyone who suffered racism at the club.

Yorkshire’s board on Wednesday approved the loan offer, with British media reporting that the consortium had offered an immediate loan of £1 million, which would be followed by further investment of £4m.

(Reuters)

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