ECB chief hits back at Hutton's claims over Yorkshire racism investigation

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05 Nov 2021 | 04:30 PM
authorcricket.com staff

ECB chief hits back at Hutton's claims over Yorkshire racism investigation

Outgoing Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton claimed that that ECB failed to support the county over Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison refuted claims made by former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton who said that the ECB failed to support the county's investigation into the racism allegations made by Azeem Rafiq. Hutton, who announced his resignation on Friday morning, said that he was frustrated by ECB's reluctance to act.

In his response, Harrison said that ECB's role in the matter was that of a regulator.

"What we were asked to do was join the Yorkshire panel to be part of the investigation which clearly we cannot do," Harrison said. "We are the regulator, we either run the investigation in its entirety ourselves or we let our stakeholders run an investigation in the entirety itself."

"But a quasi-kind of involvement being regulated and part of the membership of an investigation is completely against the role that we play. So I'm afraid that I disagree entirely with [the] characterisation of that statement," he added.

ECB have initiated their own regulatory process after Yorkshire's investigations concluded that no disciplinary was needed against Rafiq's allegations of racism within the county for legal purposes. 

A number of the county's sponsors have deserted the beleaguered club, and the ECB said the case is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game. The Board also suspended Yorkshire's Headingley Stadium from hosting international matches.

Harrison said that trust needs to be built between the ECB and the South Asian communities who will have felt let down by the handling of Rafiq's allegations. 

"In the past we haven't been able to get certain South Asian communities in particular to trust the ECB to represent their views and to take action where necessary," he said. "I don't think we have ever had it so I hope to build that trust.

"We do that by taking action, by being uncompromising about perspectives on matters such as racism and by sending a clear message that it won't be tolerated and that we will take action against it where there is clear evidence of it having taken place. Through a range of measures and processes, we will slowly be able to build trust with communities that have frankly felt let down by the response of the sport of cricket to issues that have happened in the past," Harrison said.

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