Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman Roger Hutton has resigned with immediate effect, as the fallout from Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegations against the club continues to grow.
Hutton was this week called to appear in front of the parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee to explain Yorkshire’s handling of Rafiq’s claims and the independent report into the matter.
He has now decided to leave his post, citing frustration at board members and senior management.
“Today I announce my resignation as chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, with immediate effect.
“There has been a constant unwillingness from the Executive members of the Board and senior management at the club to apologise, and to accept that there was racism, and to look forward.
“For much of my time at the club, I experienced a culture that refuses to accept change or challenge.”
Vaughan denies remarks
Meanwhile, former England captain Michael Vaughan has denied telling Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq and two other Asian players there were “too many of you lot”.
As the fall-out from the country’s handling of the investigation into Rafiq’s allegations of racism continues, Vaughan used his Daily Telegraph column to protest his innocence.
He wrote: “In December 2020 I was asked to speak to the independent panel formed by Yorkshire to investigate Rafiq’s claims. Other than having well-known and long-standing associations to the club I had no idea why they wanted to speak to me but I agreed to make myself available.
“The night before I was due to give evidence, out of the blue, I was hit with the news that Rafiq was alleging that in 2009, when I was still a player and before a Yorkshire match against Nottinghamshire, I had said to Rafiq and two other Asian players as we walked onto the field together that there are ‘too many of you lot, we need to do something about it’.
“This hit me very hard. It was like being struck over the head with a brick. I have been involved in cricket for 30 years and never once been accused of any remotely similar incident or disciplinary offence as a player or commentator.
“I have nothing to hide. The ‘you lot’ comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said 10 years ago will be fallible, but I am adamant those words were not used.”
Vaughan’s revelation came after Yorkshire were suspended from hosting international matches as the England and Wales Cricket Board delivered a stinging rebuke of the club’s “wholly unacceptable” handling of Rafiq’s claims.
A panel convened by Yorkshire upheld several allegations and while the club accepted Rafiq was subjected to “racial harassment and bullying”, they elected to take no punitive action against current employees, players or executives.
The situation has escalated this week as it emerged the panel determined repeated use of the word “P***” against former off-spinner Rafiq, who represented Yorkshire in two stints between 2008 and 2018, was “friendly banter”.
On the day more sponsors deserted the beleaguered club, the ECB board convened to discuss what has fast become a crisis, admitting in a statement the “abhorrent” matter is “causing serious damage to the reputation of the game”.
The county – due to stage a Test against New Zealand and a one-day international versus South Africa next summer, as well as an Ashes encounter in 2023 – have therefore been stripped of hosting England matches until they can “meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and first-class county”.
The suspension also takes in major matches, including The Hundred at Headingley, where Northern Superchargers this year played their home fixtures, while Gary Ballance has been “suspended indefinitely” from England selection.