Yorkshire vow to defend Andrew Gale ‘in any way possible’

Gale has been branded racist by the England and Wales Cricket Board

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The Independent Online

County champions Yorkshire have pledged to help their captain, Andrew Gale, to clear his name “in any way possible” after he was branded a racist by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Gale faces a disciplinary hearing, probably next month, after being charged by the ECB with using abusive language with racist connotations in an altercation with the Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince during the Championship match at Old Trafford earlier this month.

His county were already furious that Gale, who was initially banned for the last two matches of the season, was not allowed to pick up the Championship trophy during the presentation ceremony at Trent Bridge last Friday.

Yorkshire’s director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, insisted that Gale had the full backing of the club, saying: “We are going to do what we can to help him clear his name. The club will help Andrew in any way possible.”

Gale was originally handed a mandatory ban for verbally abusing the South African-born batsman under level two of the ECB’s disciplinary code, following another instance of dissent he committed earlier in the season.

However, the current furore was caused by Gale’s use of the word “Kolpak”, which refers to overseas players who qualify as domestic registrations by virtue of EU free-trade agreements with third-party countries – namely South Africa. If found guilty, he could face a lengthy ban next season.

The second disciplinary hearing stems from the elevation of the offence to level three, which covers abusive language based on “race, religion or belief, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation or background.” It has been widely questioned whether using the term Kolpak can be regarded as a racist action.

On the third day of the Roses match on 2 September, Gales reportedly accused Prince of time-wasting when he came in to field close to the batsman. It is alleged Prince then told Gale to “fuck off back to cover point” and Gale responded: “Fuck off back to your own country, you Kolpak fucker.”

It is not known if Prince, the first non-white player to captain South Africa, made any objection on grounds of racism. The umpires initially reported Gale only for the level two offence but the governing body then made a formal complaint to its own Cricket Discipline Commission about the spat.

Yesterday Prince broke cover to tweet a cryptic quote by US author and cartoonist James Thurber, “...most people want to believe rather than to know, to take for granted rather than to find out”.

Yorkshire’s chairman Colin Graves, who is also deputy chairman of the ECB, has said he take no part in the disciplinary procedure because of the potential conflict of interest.