Yorkshire have admitted four charges of bringing the game into disrepute. In reaching an agreement with the ECB it will not have to take part in the Cricket Discipline Commission hearings into allegations of racism and discrimination at the club, which have been scheduled to start on 1 March.
With Richard Pyrah, Yorkshire’s former player and bowling coach, on Tuesday having joined the list of charged individuals who have withdrawn cooperation with proceedings, the successful conclusion to Yorkshire’s negotiations with the ECB to amend and reduce the six charges they had initially faced means Michael Vaughan is now the only individual or organisation involved in the hearings who is slated to present a defence.
“This agreed position on liability is part of a continued effort to address and take accountability for the cultural issues that have faced the club, and today’s announcement is an important moment on our road to recovery,” said Yorkshire’s co-chairs, Lord Kamlesh Patel and Tanni Grey-Thompson.
“We want to stress the importance of facing up to our past to build a more inclusive and welcoming club for all. Our mission is to create a new foundation for the club and, as such, it was crucial that we acknowledged and accepted responsibility for allowing historical racist and discriminatory behaviour to go unchecked. As an organisation, alongside our members, we have been through so much in working towards a bright future. While the road ahead may not always be smooth, we truly believe that this will help lift a cloud that has been hanging over the club for two years.”
The charges Yorkshire have accepted include a failure to address systemic use of racist or discriminatory language over a prolonged period, and a failure to take adequate action when allegations of discriminatory behaviour were first aired.
For the first time the ECB have named the seven individuals who had been charged with bringing the game into disrepute – whose identities had been revealed in the media and in parliamentary proceedings – as Gary Ballance, John Blain, Tim Bresnan, Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard, Pyrah and Vaughan.
Ballance, who has also admitted liability, has returned to Zimbabwe and on Tuesday scored a century on his debut for the Test team against West Indies. Blain, Bresnan, Gale, and Hoggard have pulled out after criticising the process the ECB has overseen. Last week, Bresnan said he felt it was “impossible to have a fair hearing” and that “the outcome is a foregone conclusion”, with the ECB saying that “the disciplinary process has been both rigorous and fair”.
The CDC hearings will deal only with whether those charged have breached ECB Directive 3.3 by being guilty of “conduct which is improper or which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer into disrepute”. A panel will then convene to decide on potential sanctions.