"he was the victim of inappropriate behaviour."
Multiple cricketing bodies, including the ICEC, are issuing statements reacting to the racism allegations made by Azeem Rafiq.
Former Yorkshire cricketer Rafiq has accused the club of racism, saying that the abuse he encountered there damaged his mental health.
The 30-year-old claimed that he experienced “institutional racism” while at Yorkshire, but the club ignored it.
He also admitted that the abuse left him close to taking his own life.
Since speaking out about his struggles, the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) issued a statement recognising how poorly Azeem Rafiq was treated as a cricketer for Yorkshire.
They also commented on Rafiq’s bravery in calling out his abusers.
In a statement, ICEC Chair Cindy Butts said:
“We commend Azeem Rafiq for the bravery he has shown in speaking up a shining a light on the racism he said he experienced as a Yorkshire cricketer.
“We note with concern that the Independent Panel, chaired by Dr Samir Pathak, concluded that several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that he was the victim of inappropriate behaviour.
“We await a copy of the report but recognise both the pain and the distress of participating in an investigation into these matters.
“It is critical that Azeem, and others who gave evidence, receive appropriate support and we are seeking assurances that this is the case.”
The ICEC’s statement continues to say that they are conducting a thorough investigation into how cricketing organisations governed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) approach racism complaints.
The statement also reiterates that anyone who has experienced discrimination in cricket should come forward and give evidence.
According to the ICEC, they plan to use their investigation “to make cricket a genuinely equal and inclusive sport”.
The ECB has also asked for a copy of the investigation’s findings.
Yorkshire Cricket Club has since issued an apology to Azeem Rafiq for the racism he experienced while at the club.
However, Rafiq slammed the club for referring to the racism as “inappropriate behaviour”, accusing them of “fudging” their words.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the former off-spinner said:
“The patience has gone. I’m not going to put myself through any more mental turmoil.
“I think it’s time for it to be dealt with properly. I know what I went through.”
Other members of the cricket community are standing with Azeem Rafiq as he pressures his former club for a proper apology.
We’ve seen it ourselves first hand Raf.
Not just the racism but also the bullying of junior players who haven’t been accepted into the gang.
You know what we mean.
It needs sorting out now!
— The Victoria Cricket Club ? (@ClubEmley) August 19, 2021
Responding to a tweet from Azeem Rafiq about Yorkshire’s statement, the Victoria Cricket Club said:
“We’ve seen it ourselves first hand Raf. Not just the racism but also the bullying of junior players who haven’t been accepted into the gang.
“You know what we mean. It needs sorting out now!”
Former World Cup winner Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent MBE also tweeted about Azeem Rafiq’s allegations.
Tough to watch ?? Cant even imagine what this has been like for you @AzeemRafiq30 . You have taken great courage on this journey and remember lots of love and support for you x https://t.co/9ko0kSTfgc
— Ebony-Jewel Rainford-Brent MBE (@ejrainfordbrent) August 19, 2021
Re-tweeting his interview with BBC News, she said:
“Tough to watch. Can’t even imagine what this has been like for you @AzeemRafiq30.
“You have taken great courage on this journey and remember lots of love and support for you.”