Middlesex urge racially abused player to report experiences to club

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq told a DCMS comittee that cricketers from other clubs – incuding Middlesex – had shared with him their own experiences of racism

Sport Staff
Tuesday 16 November 2021 13:53
<p>Middlesex County Cricket Club’s home ground, Lord’s</p>

Middlesex County Cricket Club’s home ground, Lord’s

Middlesex Cricket have urged any player who has faced racism to report their experiences after the club was named in Tuesday’s parliamentary hearing on racism in cricket.

Former Yorkshire bowler Azeem Rafiq was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Music and Sport (DCMS) committee based on his experiences of racism while play for Yorkshire, and spoke emotionally about how he felt when the word “P***” was used regularly by some players during his time there.

Rafiq revealed several cricketers from other clubs had got in touch with him to report similar incidents during their careers, Middlesex among them.

“I’ve had messages from Leicestershire, a guy at Middlesex, people at Nottinghamshire, messages from quite a few,” Rafiq said on Tuesday. “Some people are obviously pretty scared to talk about it. Some still say ‘should I have called it out?’, ‘is it racism?’ The reoccurrence is the word P*** was used a lot.

“I want to become the voice of the voiceless. I want to help people who are suffering with this, without it getting to the point it got to with me. I want to help people coming into the game to get them ready for counties but also to change these cultures so they can achieve their dreams.”

In response, Middlesex said: “Last week, the Club issued a statement to underline Middlesex’s zero tolerance policy on discrimination of any kind. The Club firmly stands by this statement.

“With this allegation coming to light this morning, we would urge the player in question to contact the Club immediately, directly to Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cornish, to enable us to handle this matter in the strictest confidence, with the utmost speed, and as a matter of the highest urgency. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated at Middlesex, and this matter will be fully investigated.

“Middlesex Cricket wants anyone who feels they have been discriminated against to know that they should feel comfortable when speaking about and sharing their experiences, safe in the knowledge that their complaint will be listened to, handled in the most sensitive manner, and dealt with.”

As the DCMS hearing came to a conclusion on Tuesday afternoon, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s chief executive Tom Harrison apologised for the board’s delayed reaction to the Yorkshire racism scandal.

Harrison said: “We are going to fix this and we are going to fix it quickly.”

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