Sir Geoffrey Boycott has taken to Twitter to criticise Yorkshire for their handling of allegations of institutional racism from their former player, Azeem Rafiq.
Rafiq first spoke publicly about his experiences of racism as a professional cricketer in an interview with Wisden.com in August, where he alleged that he played under “an openly racist captain” and that while playing for Yorkshire, a player said, ‘There’s too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that,’ in the direction of Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.
Initially, Yorkshire CCC refused to comment on the allegation but 17 days after the Wisden.com interview with Rafiq was published, Yorkshire announced that they were launching a formal investigation into the matter.
In a later interview with ESPNcricinfo, Rafiq said: “It’s obvious to anyone who cares that there’s a problem. Do I think there is institutional racism? It’s at its peak in my opinion. It’s worse than it’s ever been.” In the same interview, Rafiq also revealed that his experiences of racism had led him to the brink of suicide.
On Saturday, Yorkshire confirmed that their investigation into Rafiq’s claims will be lead by the law firm, Squire Patton Boggs (Squire). According to ESPNcricinfo, a statement on Yorkshire’s website after their chairman Richard Hutton’s appointment in April read: “Educated at Exeter University and Leeds Metropolitan University Law School, Hutton took the role of Article Clerk at Squire Patton Boggss (sic) before joining Clarion as an Assistant Solicitor in 1996. Three years later, Hutton became a partner at the law firm and has since worked with many high-profile clients.” In a further statement, Yorkshire clarified that there was no connection, professional or personal, between Hutton and Squire.
On Twitter, Boycott said: “How can @YorkshireCCC think appointing a law firm the current chair used to work for will be seen as Independent!! It’s a sham and our Chairman & CEO should be embarrassed. This is a serious accusation & the club should be not only above reproach but seen to be. above reproach.”
How can @YorkshireCCC think appointing a law firm the current chair used to work for will be seen as Independent!!
It’s a sham and our Chairman & CEO should be embarrassed. This is a serious accusation & the club should be not only above reproach but seen to be. above reproach. https://t.co/SIgm6wNKHS
— Sir Geoffrey Boycott (@GeoffreyBoycott) September 6, 2020
In another tweet, Boycott advocated for the ECB’s involvement in the investigation. Boycott, one of England’s finest ever batsmen, spent the entirety of his 24-year professional career at Yorkshire. He is also a former Yorkshire CCC president, having been at the helm between 2012 and 2014.