Yorkshire County Cricket Club on Friday morning released a summary of the report into institutional racism at the club, coinciding with the cancellation of England’s fifth Test against India at Old Trafford. The report found that Azeem Rafiq, the two-time and long-serving Yorkshire cricketer and former England youth captain, had been the “victim of racial harassment and bullying”, as per BBC Sport.
Yorkshire have been under severe scrutiny for their delays in conducting and publishing a report sparked by Rafiq’s claims, the responses to which both within and outside the club drove him to the brink of suicide. Their decision to release a brief summary of their findings, in which only seven of the 43 allegations Rafiq made have been upheld, at 9am on the same morning of the front-page-consuming fifth Test cancellation, has brought fresh criticism.
It seemed to many that the club were attempting to bury the shameful news as journalists spoke of the influence of the IPL and future of Test cricket whilst a far more prevalent, human issue took a back seat. Although the release of the report was clearly scheduled, it does seem odd that a decision was not taken to alter the timing given the inevitable backlash it would receive.
The Yorkshire chair Roger Hutton apologised to Rafiq and his family, but claimed the full report can not be released for legal and privacy reasons. It was also stated that there was “insufficient evidence to conclude that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is institutionally racist”. Indeed, it seems an issue that has remained criminally unresolved for over a year continues to require a great many solutions.