Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has outlined the abuse he has faced since he was appointed to his role late last year, saying that there are “a very small but very vocal group of individuals who not accept that racism happened at this club”.
Patel was named chairman in November 2021 amid the fallout from Yorkshire’s handling of racism allegations made against the club by former player Azeem Rafiq.
The day prior to Patel’s appointment as chair, the ECB stripped Yorkshire off the right to host international cricket “until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County”. Yorkshire have since brought in structural reforms, paving the way for them to host the ongoing Test between England and New Zealand.
Last week the ECB announced that Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” had been charged following the governing body’s investigation into racism and other allegations at the county.
Speaking to Test Match Special, Patel admitted that he has received racist letters since taking on the chairmanship. “Ninety to ninety-five per cent of members and the people I genuinely meet on the street or on the train have said, ‘Thank you, thank you for doing what you’re doing’, and have been extremely supportive. I do have a small but substantial bag of letters that if I was to take them to the police, people would be prosecuted.”
Jonathan Agnew, the broadcaster interviewing Patel, sought to clarify the nature of the letters. “Phenomenally racist letters,” Patel said. “We have a very small, and I emphasise, very small but very vocal group of individuals who do not accept that racism happened at this club and I think we have to move beyond that denial. Absolutely [we] have to move beyond that denial. Racism happens in society and it certainly happened at this club.”
Lord Patel also made the claim that Yorkshire would have gone bust had the club not been able to regain its ability to host international cricket.