Bresnan accused of racist comments about Rafiq’s sister as CDC hearing begins

  • Cricket Disciplinary Commission hearing under way in London
  • Six Yorkshire players and staff charged by ECB

Azeem Rafiq’s sister Amna was called a “fit Paki” by his Yorkshire teammate Tim Bresnan while she was on work experience, a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing into racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has heard.

In written testimony to the CDC, which is examining charges against six Yorkshire players and staff for improper or prejudicial conduct, Rafiq said he felt “angry and embarrassed” for not saying anything when the alleged incident – in which the language used, the hearing was told, was racist and/or discriminatory – occurred in April 2014.

Rafiq, who played for Yorkshire between 2008 and 2014, and again between 2016 and 2018, said “part of the problem was that this sort of language was so common that he did not think much of it at the time” – and that Bresnan used the words “fit Paki and/or FP” on multiple occasions.

Bresnan, along with four other former Yorkshire players and coaches, Matthew Hoggard, John Blain, Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah, has declined to participate in the disciplinary hearing. He previously told the England and Wales Cricket Board he would never use such terms.

However, Jane Mulcahy, counsel for the ECB, said that on the balance of probabilities it was “more likely than not” that Bresnan’s alleged use of the phrase was racist or discriminatory.

Mulcahy also claimed Bresnan’s defence had been “inconsistent” as he had changed his evidence from saying he had never met Amna to accepting he was aware she was in the ground.

Mulcahy told the hearing Bresnan’s defence was further undermined by his claims in the media that he had been charged by the ECB without being interviewed. She said that was “evidentally incorrect” as the transcript of the interview was in the commission’s documents.

Bresnan also denies that calling Yorkshire’s Asian players “the brothers” and “you lot” on occasions was discriminatory.

Hoggard, another former England player, was alleged by the ECB to have said “you Pakis are all the same” and “you lot sit over there” when referring to Rafiq and other Asian players in the Yorkshire squad in 2008.

The ECB also claimed he was being discriminatory when he referred to Rafiq as “Rafa the Kaffir” – a South African insult – during the 2008 season. Hoggard has accepted using the term, but denied he had created it or that it carried a racist meaning. Instead, he claimed it was used to denote a person of Muslim faith who did not practise to strict conformity.

That explanation was dismissed by Mulcahy, who said he had previously played in South Africa. She also pointed out that in 2008 Rafiq was “observant of his religion and did not drink, as he later did in order to fit in”.

Hoggard has admitted to using the P-word and “Token Black Man”, but denied any racist or discriminatory intent. Mulcahy said the use of such words showed evidence of “a prevailing atmosphere at Yorkshire County Cricket Club at the relevant time in which this word was commonly used”.

“This is consistent with Yorkshire’s admission that it failed adequately to address systemic use of racist or discriminatory language over a prolonged period,” she said.

Blain was alleged by Rafiq to have “used the word ‘Paki’ a lot and it was normalised language for him” and the panel was told others had also heard him use it. Blain has denied using the word, but was alleged by the ECB to have told another player that using the P-word was “similar to calling Australians ‘Aussies’”.

The hearing continues with Rafiq giving evidence on Thursday and the former England captain Michael Vaughan, who is contesting the charges, is due to appear in the coming days.

Yorkshire have already pleaded guilty to four charges and are not taking part.


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

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