Azeem Rafiq to receive extra security at ECB’s Yorkshire hearing after threats

  • Hearing into Yorkshire misconduct charges begins on Monday
  • Rafiq denies allegations of homophobia and antisemitism

The former Yorkshire bowler Azeem Rafiq is to be provided with extra security at an England and Wales Cricket Board disciplinary hearing next week after confirming he is to attend the proceedings, the Guardian has learned.

The move comes because Rafiq is continuing to receive threats before a preliminary hearing of the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) in London that will examine misconduct charges against Yorkshire CCC and seven of their past and present employees. CCTV footage has also captured someone defecating in Rafiq’s parents’ garden, as well as a masked man prowling around the outside of the property.

The three-person panel is due to hear legal arguments on Monday and Tuesday before deciding whether the full hearing will be held in public or behind closed doors. Rafiq’s legal team will strongly argue that nothing should be hidden and they want full “transparency and disclosure”.

Meanwhile Rafiq has insisted that new allegations of antisemitism, homophobia and fat-shaming are part of a “coordinated campaign of lies” to discredit him. The 31-year-old, who was found to have been the victim of racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire by an investigation commissioned by the club, has denied the allegations, made against him in the Daily Mail.

They included claims that Rafiq repeatedly referred to a non-Jewish former county second XI teammate as “a Jew”, made a homophobic comment towards an opposition player in 2009 and had forced overweight children to play without shirts on during a training session in 2015, and then referred to them as “fat bastards”.

Rafiq said: “These allegations are categorically untrue. I knew as a whistleblower I would come under attack. What I did not expect was a never-ending, coordinated campaign of lies, which has caused serious risk to me and my family’s safety. I have been vindicated over and over again, and will not be intimidated by those who seek to silence me.”

Rafiq, who gave powerful testimony to the digital, culture, media and sport parliamentary committee last November about his experience of abuse and bullying at Yorkshire, has said he will continue to speak out. He has committed to appear as a witness at the full CDC hearing, and again before the DCMS committee in December.

This week it emerged that Rafiq was one of five players to be reprimanded by the CDC for historical remarks on social media. In a response Rafiq said he fully accepted that an antisemitic post on Facebook in 2011 was wrong, and apologised to the Jewish community. He said: “I hope I have demonstrated over the past 10-11 months that I am trying to educate myself about the horrors and prejudice the Jewish community has historically – and continues – to face.”


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

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