Azeem Rafiq 'incredibly hurt' by Joe Root saying he cannot recall racism at Yorkshire

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We must eliminate racism from cricket and society – Root

Azeem Rafiq said that he was "incredibly hurt" by Joe Root's comments about England captain Joe Root saying he couldn't recall ever seeing racism at Yorkshire.

Root, England's Test captain, says that the racism scandal at his country side has "fractured and torn our lives apart"

Root calls for "change" and "actions".

Root was asked if he has witnessed any racism at Yorkshire. Root replied, "Not that I can remember, no... but it is clear things have occurred at the club."

Rafiq, a former Yorkshire player, was the victim of racism harassment and bullying. However, the club denied that they would discipline anyone.

Rafiq replied to Root's comments via twitter: "Disappointed, it is not the feeling. It is incredibly hurt. It is difficult to accept uncomfortable truths.

Root spent his entire county career in Yorkshire. He made his debut with the second team in 2007, before moving up to the first team in 2009.

Root stated, "I want the sport to be a place that everyone enjoys it for its beautiful game and feels safe and secure." "We must educate, unify, and reset.

"I want to see the Yorkshire County Cricket Club succeed with positive changes and actions. This will create a culture that fosters trust among all communities that support cricket in Yorkshire.

"I will reach out YCCC's new chair Lord Patel for support whenever I am able."

Rafiq was born in Pakistan, and moved to England at the age of 10. He spent most of his career at Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018.

He was a youth captain for England and Yorkshire.

External-link Rafiq said that he was close to suicide after a September 2020 interview with Wisden.

BBC Sport told him that he was afraid of "every second" in his career, and that a teammate used a racially offensive term related to his Pakistani heritage.

In September 2020, Yorkshire opened a formal investigation into Rafiq’s allegations. The then chairman Roger Hutton stated that the club would be conducting a "wider assessment" of its "policies & culture."

Three days after Yorkshire had received the report from law firm Squire Patton Boggs in August 2021 they acknowledged Rafiq as "the victim of improper behaviour" and offered their "profound apologies".

Rafiq was deemed the victim of racial harassment, bullying and seven of 43 allegations were upheld in the report summary. However, the club stated that they couldn't release the complete report due to legal reasons. They claimed there was not enough evidence to conclude that the club was institutionally racist.

Rafiq asked Rafiq about the punishments that were handed out to ex-players and coaches who were found guilty of racist language. Rafiq also questioned whether the investigation was valid.

Root was speaking at the Ashes preparation camp for England in Queensland, Australia. He added that it hurt knowing that this had happened at YCCC so near to home.

"It's my club, and I love it. I have spent a lot time reflecting.

"There is no discussion about racism. It is just intolerable."

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, an ex-Pakistan seamer, was the second player in the first-team to claim racism at Yorkshire. She claimed that "systematic taunting” took place at the club.

Tabassum Bhatti and Irfan Amjad, former players from Yorkshire Academy, have shared their stories of racism during their time at the club.

Rafiq and other senior Yorkshire officials will be giving evidence on 16 November at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select panel hearing. Hutton, the former chairman of Yorkshire, will be interrogated by MPs along with Chief Executive Mark Arthur.

Hutton was among several board members who resigned last Friday over the club's response against Rafiq's racism.

Lord Patel, the new chair, said Monday that Rafiq should be praised for his courage and that Yorkshire's racism scandal "should never have been exposed to him."

Yorkshire announced Tuesday that Andrew Gale, head coach of the team, was suspended in an investigation into a 2010 tweet. Martyn Moxon, director of cricket, was also absent due to stress-related illness.

Root, who will be leading England in the Ashes Test on December 8, stated: "We need to find a way forward and ensure that this does not happen again. This is a social issue that needs to be addressed beyond cricket.

"We, as a sport have to do more. What can we do to make the game more positive? How can we all, including myself, the ECB and the counties, players, officials, and officials, help improve the condition of the game?

"I don't know all the answers but I believe we should educate more early. We must be able to call it out immediately and keep our ears open more.

"Inclusivity and diversity are three of the most important things that the England teams I've been involved with have talked about over the years and are passionate about making a difference.

It's an important part of our culture and we want to celebrate it. We represent England and the multi-cultural society in which we live. We want everyone to enjoy the game and be proud of the person who represents them.

Rafiq report timeline

2 September 2020: After an interview with Wisden, ESPN Cricinfo published an article with Rafiq. In it, he claimed that he was close to suicide because of "institutional racism" at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

3 September 2020: Yorkshire says they have opened a formal investigation into Rafiq's claims. Chairman Roger Hutton also stated that the club would conduct a "wider review of their policies and culture".

5 September 2020: Yorkshire requests an independent law firm for an investigation into racism allegations made against Rafiq's club.

13 November 2020: Rafiq stated that he hopes to effect "meaningful changes" after he made his first statement in response to the inquiry.

15 December 2020: Rafiq files an action against Yorkshire alleging direct discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of race.

2 February 2021: Yorkshire threatens to ban anyone who makes threats against Rafiq, his family or legal team. ESPN Cricinfo has shown the messages that were sent to Rafiq by the club.

17 June 2021: Rafiq and Yorkshire fail to reach an agreement in a case before the employment tribunal. His racism accusations remain under investigation.

16 August 2021: Yorkshire receives the results of an independent investigation into racism allegations and two days later the England and Wales Cricket Board asks for a copy.

19 August 2021: Yorkshire, which has yet to release the results of the report, admitted Rafiq was "a victim of inappropriate behavior" and offered him "profound apology."

Rafiq accuses Yorkshire, calling him "inappropriate behavior" and downplaying racism.

8 September 2021: Yorkshire MPs ask for the publication of the findings "immediately".

10 September 2021: Yorkshire releases the findings of the report. It states that Rafiq was the victim of racial harassment, bullying, and seven of the 43 allegations were supported by an independent panel.

Hutton stated that the report did not contain sufficient evidence to conclude Yorkshire County Cricket Club was institutionally racist.

Yorkshire published a summary of the panel report and its recommendations. However, the full report was not available for legal reasons.

8 October 2021: Yorkshire misses the deadline to submit the complete report to Rafiq, his legal team and the media after BBC Sport learns that an employment judge ordered the club's release in its entirety by Friday, October 8.

13 October 2021: Rafiq receives a heavily edited version. The ECB states that it is still awaiting its full report.

28 October 2021: Yorkshire claims that they conducted their own internal investigation following the report's findings and concluded that there was no misconduct or action by any employees, players, or executives that would warrant disciplinary action.

2 November 2021: Hutton is summoned by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to answer questions regarding Yorkshire's handling a Rafiq-related report.

Julian Knight, MP and chair of DCMS select committee, has called for the resignation of the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club after a leaked document emerged that apparently contains details about the investigation into Rafiq's treatment.

ESPN published a story saying that the report concluded that Rafiq had been referred to as "banter" when he used racially offensive terms towards him.

Knight's comments were made after Sajid Javid, health secretary, calls for "heads-to-roll" at Yorkshire. He said that if the ECB didn't take action "it isn’t fit for purpose". In a tweet, Knight stated that Rafiq's term was "not banter".

The ECB announced that it would conduct a full investigation into the matter.

3 November 2021: Rafiq, together with other senior Yorkshire officials, is due to testify at the DCMS hearing on 16 November.

Many sponsors, including the primary sponsor Emerald Publishing, have ended their partnership with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Gary Ballance, the current Yorkshire batter, releases a long statement in which he regrets using a racial slur to refer to Rafiq, his former team-mate.

4 November 2021: Yorkshire is banned from hosting international matches by the ECB board.

Nike, the kit supplier, has ended a four year deal. This was announced in March 2021.

Michael Vaughan, former captain of England, claims he was included in the report but "totally rejects any allegation about racism."

5 November 2021: Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton quits following the club's response. He also apologises to Rafiq "unreservedly". A further two board members resigned, and another will be leaving in the near future. Lord Kamlesh Patel, Bradford, is named director and chair.

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, a former Yorkshire player, claims he was made racist comments by Vaughan towards a group Asian players.

8 November 2021: Lord Patel, speaking for the first time since his appointment apologizes to Rafiq. He also said that the club had settled the employment tribunal with the former player.

Irfan Amjad is a former player at the Yorkshire academy. He claims that he was racially assaulted by Yorkshire staff members when he was 16.

9th November 2021: If Yorkshire and the ECB fail to take "real action", the government will "step in".

Tabassum Bhatti, another academy player, claims he was subject to racial abuses at the club when he was 14 years old.

10 November 2021: Yorkshire announces they will investigate after the club's head for human resources called a fan "a coward" while accusing Rafiq and the fan of "waging an anti-club campaign on social media."