The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has charged Yorkshire County Cricket Club and a "number of individuals" in relation to the racism case involving former player Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, which was eventually brought to light and taken in front of a parliamentary select committee in November.

The former off-spinner also accused Yorkshire and English cricket of being institutionally racist, with several high-profile figures at the county either resigning or being dismissed over the handling of the allegations.

Kamlesh Patel replaced previous chairman Roger Hutton, former England bowler Darren Gough was named director of cricket after the dismissal of Martyn Moxon, and Ottis Gibson was appointed head coach in January as the replacement for the sacked Andrew Gale.

The ECB began an investigation into the allegations and provided an update on Wednesday, saying the club and individuals had been charged.

"Yorkshire County Cricket Club and a number of individuals have today been charged following an ECB investigation into racism and other allegations at the club and its handling of those allegations," the statement read.

"The charges arise from alleged breaches of ECB Directive 3.3 (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) and the ECB Anti-Discrimination Code. 

"An independent panel of the Cricket Discipline Commission will hear the cases in due course.

"The ECB's investigation has been thorough and complex, with the allegations covering a significant period of time and a number of witnesses and other individuals coming forward to share their own experiences and allegations. The ECB is grateful to all those who have taken the time to speak with the investigating team.

"In matters of this nature, our normal practice is not to identify individuals charged at this stage. This decision is taken on a case-by-case basis. It is, however, standard practice for the CDC disciplinary panel to publish its decisions and written reasons in full following the hearing.

"There will be no further comment until the hearing has taken place and the decisions published. We currently expect the hearing to take place in September or October 2022."

England star Moeen Ali admitted he would be open to joining Yorkshire, but not as a "publicity stunt" following the ongoing rebuild at Headingley after the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Moeen has played for Worcestershire for 15 years and has captained the side, but his contract expires at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old has also made his intentions to return to Test cricket with England clear, announcing he was "officially unretired" after a conversation with new coach Brendon McCullum.

Yorkshire are reportedly interested in the all-rounder to bolster their white-ball side and County Championship outfit.

Widespread change is still ongoing at Headingley, with chairman Kamlesh Patel, director of cricket Darren Gough and coach Ottis Gibson appointed to oversee improvements.

The changes came after Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, which was eventually brought to light and taken in front of a parliamentary select committee last November.

The former off-spinner also accused his former club and England of being institutionally racist, with several high-profile figures at the county resigning or being dismissed over the handling of the allegations.

Moeen insists that a move to Yorkshire would only be for "cricketing reasons" as he discussed his future.

 

"This is my last year at Worcester. I'm talking to them, I'm talking to other counties. I do love playing for Worcester, I've been there 15 years now," Moeen told BBC's Test Match Special.

"I moved from Warwickshire and they obviously helped me develop my game, play for England, but when the time comes I'll make a decision.

"I think Yorkshire are doing a good job and will continue to do that. I don't think they need to sign me to make it a publicity stunt, almost. If I ever left, it would be for cricketing reasons."

New England Test captain Ben Stokes smashed a brutal 161 for Durham against Worcestershire in his first County Championship appearance of the season.

Star all-rounder Stokes was named as Joe Root's successor at the end of April, and has been charged with turning around England's fortunes – the red-ball national side winning just one of their last 17 Tests.

Opting to spend some time in the middle before England host New Zealand in a three-Test series, which starts on June 2 at Lord's, Stokes found his form in remarkable fashion on Friday.

Stokes joined David Bedingham at the crease at New Road after Scott Borthwick was trapped in front by Ben Gibbon, and blasted through a shell-shocked Worcestershire attack to reach his century before lunch.

The 30-year-old targeted young off-spinner Josh Baker, launching five sixes in his 20th over to reach a 64-ball ton before narrowly missing out on a sixth straight maximum with a one-bounce boundary.

While Stokes fell short of Garfield Sobers' elusive six maximums in an over, he posted the fastest first-class century in Durham's history, surpassing England interim coach Paul Collingwood's record (75 balls).

Stokes returned for the afternoon session by clearing the ropes for a 17th time to achieve a County Championship record, while only four players have hit more sixes in any first-class innings.

However, the England skipper then miscued a Brett D'Oliveira delivery to be caught on the boundary by Jack Haynes as his magnificent 161 from just 88 balls came to an end.

Durham declared on 580-6 soon after following Bedingham being dismissed for 135.

Azeem Rafiq insisted he will be the first to support Yorkshire should they make changes following the racism scandal at the club, while reflecting on how he coped with the ordeal.

Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, which was eventually brought to light and taken in front of a parliamentary select committee in November.

The former off-spinner also accused his former club and England of being institutionally racist, with several high-profile figures at the county either resigning or being dismissed over the handling of the allegations.

Kamlesh Patel is leading the change at Yorkshire after replacing former chairman Roger Hutton, while former England bowler Darren Gough has taken charge after the dismissal of director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Ottis Gibson was appointed head coach on Wednesday as the replacement for the sacked Andrew Gale and Rafiq reiterated support for the club on the condition that he sees positive change.

He told Stats Perform: "I've said this a few times, from day one I've been clear with Lord Patel. If I see an acceptance and intention, and a will to move in a different direction and change.

"They're not going to get everything right, there's going to be missteps on the way. But as long as I see an intention to change, I will be the first one supporting it. 

"I've seen that from day one to be honest. There are a lot of positive things happening at the club and hopefully a lot more to come.

"If people apologise, then there should be a second chance and they should be allowed to change. It's really important that when we're asking individuals or institutions to change when they do try that we support them and not make it harder for them. 

"Look, the people that continue to deny that, that's up to them. But it's important that we just continue making sure that the cause is at the forefront of everything that we do. 

"I think I've come to accept that this could potentially be my life now."

Rafiq himself was found to have made offensive remarks after anti-Semitic messages he sent in 2011 resurfaced, an act he again apologised for.

"I don't know how I've coped," he added. "But I'm still here, still breathing, still fighting it. Look, there are a few things that have happened. 

"As I've said several times, and the anti-Semitic messages that surfaced from myself as a young lad are something that makes me really angry. 

"Something I'm really disappointed in myself about, and I've tried my best to apologise to the Jewish community and also trying to spend more time learning about their culture which I'll continue to do.

"But some of the other things that have happened and continue to happen behind the scenes have been outrageous, to be honest. 

"It's been difficult because it's got to the point where there have been concerns around my family's physical safety."

Despite his efforts to tell of the troubling experiences that he encountered, Rafiq believes cricket remains in denial of the racial issues within the sport.

"As the DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport] report said, the fact that there was a need for a South Asian action plan just shows that the ECB and the game have been fully well aware of the issue," he continued. 

"There is an action plan from 1999, if I'm not wrong, which is readily available online, which shows that there has been an issue for a very long time. Everyone has been aware of it but not wanted to do anything about it.

"It just says everything that it needs to say. That it's taken someone to basically sacrifice their life, in a way, and their future, potentially, to bring this to the forefront. 

"The worrying thing for me is how little I still feel that the game has listened since the DCMS. I still feel like the game is in serious denial. 

"I have serious concerns that the game is going to try and look at some of the other issues that it has, [and] there's a lot of them, to try and forget about inclusivity and diversity."

Yorkshire have appointed former West Indies all-rounder and coach Ottis Gibson on a three-year deal.

The 52-year-old takes charge following the departure of Andrew Gale and the rest of the coaching staff late last year, which came after an investigation into claims made by Azeem Rafiq.

"I'm extremely honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to join Yorkshire County Cricket Club as head coach," he said.

"This is one of the most prestigious roles in English County Cricket, and I am really looking forward to working with this talented group of players to take the club forward. I've spoken at length with Goughy [Darren Gough] about the direction the club is heading in and I'm excited to be a part of that future."

A 100-page independent report in early November upheld allegations by Rafiq that he had been the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time at Yorkshire.

Former chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over the club's handling of the investigation, with Kamlesh Patel stepping into the role.

Chief executive Mark Arthur then followed Hutton in resigning, while Yorkshire later announced that they were parting ways with their entire coaching and medical team, including first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Former England bowler Gough was appointed as interim managing director and tasked with appointing new coaching staff as a priority.

Gibson, who will take charge from the end of February, was in charge of the West Indies side that won the T20 World Cup in 2012, having also served as South Africa head coach and bowling coach for England and Bangladesh.

An experienced county cricket player who also appeared in two Tests and 15 ODIs for the West Indies, Gibson also worked with England during two Ashes series wins.

He will join up with Yorkshire once his deal with the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League expires next month.

Patel said he hoped the appointment of Gibson would "encourage dialogue and help foster a culture of inclusion at the club, as well as supporting and developing the world-class talent we have here and pushing them to the next level".

"His playing and coaching credentials speak for themselves and he has had a distinguished career performing at the highest level," he said.

"Ottis' character and his commitment to buying into the process that we are going through at Yorkshire County Cricket Club shone through in our discussions."

Gough said: "Ottis is one of the best coaches in the world and will be a fantastic addition. His knowledge, commitment, experience and cricket know-how will be vital for us as we move into pre-season and get ourselves up and running.

"We were absolutely blown away by the level of interest and quality of candidates for this role, but I have no doubt that he's the best person for the job and will pick up the challenge with relish."

Darren Gough has been appointed as managing director of Yorkshire on an interim basis following the Azeem Rafiq racism crisis, the club has confirmed.

Ex-England bowler Gough will relinquish his current media duties to take the role at his former county, initially until the conclusion of the 2022 season, as Yorkshire look to rebuild in the wake of the revelations by Rafiq.

A 100-page independent report in early November upheld claims by Rafiq that he had been the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time at Yorkshire.

Former chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over Yorkshire's handling of the investigation, with new chair Kamlesh Patel stepping into the role.

Chief executive Mark Arthur then followed Hutton in resigning, while Yorkshire announced on Friday that they were parting ways with their entire coaching and medical team, including first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Gough, who enjoyed two spells at Headingley as a player, will oversee the recruitment of a new coaching team as his immediate priority.

On his appointment, Gough told Yorkshire's official website: "Yorkshire County Cricket Club has been part of my life since my earliest days in cricket when I made my debut in 1989, and I spent 15 happy years at the club. 

"Like many, I have followed how the club handled the recent racism allegations with sadness and anger.

"I want to play my part in rebuilding cricket in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to working with the exceptionally talented group of players here. 

"I am also aware of my wider responsibility to listen to everyone and ensure that every person who is associated with this club feels welcome, instilling values we want associated with the White Rose: honesty, straight talking, hard work, integrity and excellence.

"I share [Kamlesh] Patel's vision for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and the collective determination to face the issues head on with a series of positive actions. Change will not happen overnight, but I am certain that we can make Headingley roar again."

Gough retired from professional cricket in 2008 but travelled to New Zealand in 2019 as a mentor for England's seamers on tour.

Current England captain Joe Root, who worked with Gough on that tour and is a lifelong Yorkshire player, has backed the 51-year-old to succeed in his new role.

Speaking ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Root – before the appointment was confirmed – said: "It's news to me, but if that is the case he's a good man and I'm sure he'll be looking to put his stamp on things at the club.

"From my experience of spending time with Goughie, he's obviously very passionate and knowledgeable about the game. His love for it is clear for everyone to see. 

"I'm sure he'll want to bring all of that to the fore, all of his experience and achievements in the game and pass them on to the group if he is the man to take over."

Yorkshire's director of cricket Martyn Moxon, first-team coach Andrew Gale and all members of the coaching staff have left the club following Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations.

A 100-page independent report in early November upheld that Rafiq had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time at Yorkshire.

Former chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over Yorkshire's response to the investigation, with new chair Kamlesh Patel tasked with changing the culture at the club.

Chief executive Mark Arthur resigned from his position last month, before Gale was suspended pending investigation over a historical tweet, while Moxon took sick leave due to stress.

Yorkshire announced on Friday that Moxon and Gale have left the club, in addition to all members of the coaching staff and the backroom medical team.

A new director of cricket is the immediate priority, according to Patel, who is also recruiting an entire new coaching team for the upcoming season.

"Significant change is required at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and we are committed to taking whatever action is necessary to regain trust," Patel said in a statement on the county's official website.

"The decisions announced today were difficult to make but are in the best interests of the club. Without making important changes to how we are run, we cannot move on from the past to become a culture which is progressive and inclusive.

"We want to make Yorkshire County Cricket Club a place for everyone, from all backgrounds. To do this, we need to rebuild our culture and instil positive values in everyone associated with Yorkshire. 

"We are determined to learn from the mistakes of the past to become a club which people can trust.

"We are hoping to announce a new director of cricket in the coming days. We have a huge rebuilding job to do but we are confident that this heralds a step forward towards a brighter future."

Michael Vaughan remains under contract with the BBC, who "expect to work" with the former England captain again after standing him down from their Ashes coverage following Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations.

Vaughan was named in a report this month investigating Rafiq's claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire, but has repeatedly and categorically denied the allegations.

The 47-year-old, who played for Yorkshire between 1993 and 2009, allegedly told a group of team-mates in 2009 there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it".

Those claims were corroborated by then Yorkshire player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and current England white-ball specialist Adil Rashid.

Vaughan has since been stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live Show before being removed from the broadcaster's Ashes coverage due to his involvement in a "significant story" representing a "conflict of interest".

The BBC reiterated their stance on Wednesday, as they informed that Vaughan – who led England to Ashes glory in 2005 – would play no role in their upcoming coverage, though they look set to work with him in the future.

"We're in regular contact with Michael and have had positive conversations with him in recent days," read a statement from the BBC.

"Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael's involvement in a story of such significance means it's not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment.

"We're pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC."

Vaughan said after the BBC's decision he was "very disappointed not to be commentating on the Ashes" but added he was looking forward to working on the series for Fox Sports in Australia.

Former England captain Alastair Cook has penned a two-year extension with Essex.

Cook, who is England's all-time leading run scorer in Test cricket, signed an initial three-year deal with Essex following his international retirement in 2018.

Since then, the 36-year-old has played an integral role in the county's successive red-ball titles in 2019 and 2020, first the County Championship followed by the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy.

Cook registered 172 in the first innings in the latter success at Lord's to offer Essex an early lead against Somerset, ending the campaign as the leading run scorer in the competition with 563 runs at an average of 56.30.

But Essex endured a tough season the following campaign, failing to qualify for Division One of the County Championship, while it remained unclear whether Cook would renew terms.

Cook, however, has decided to continue playing for at least the next two years.

Upon signing his new contract, the opening batsman to Essex's in-house media: "I have really enjoyed my cricket here at Essex since my international retirement.

"We are lucky to have a fantastic dressing room and great coaching staff, led brilliantly by Anthony McGrath, and I'm looking forward to what is hopefully another successful couple of years."

The left-hander made 161 Test appearances, racking up 12,472 runs at an average of 45.35 as he holds records as not only England's most-capped red-ball captain (59) but also for the most centuries for his country in the longest format (33).

Managing director of the England men's cricket team Ashley Giles believes second chances are key to solving the racism crisis following Azeem Rafiq's allegations.

Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, which was eventually brought to light and taken in front of a parliamentary select committee on November 16.

He also accused Yorkshire and England of being institutionally racist, while Michael Vaughan has been stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show and the BBC's upcoming Ashes coverage amid Rafiq's allegations.

Vaughan, who allegedly said there were "too many of you lot" towards Asian Yorkshire players, has repeatedly strongly denied the allegations and recently apologised to Rafiq for the "hurt he has gone through".

Former England spinner Giles, who played alongside Vaughan in the 2005 Ashes win, believes people must be offered a second chance and an opportunity to educate themselves for cricket to move forward.

Asked specifically about Vaughan during a news conference, Giles responded: "I can't comment on what the BBC should do with one of their employees. But I think tolerance is really important.

"We all do make mistakes and we will again. But we have to be able to tolerate, educate and rehabilitate otherwise people aren't going to open up and share their experiences and learn.

"Does zero tolerance mean we shouldn't accept discrimination and racism? Absolutely. But not giving people second chances, I'm not sure that's a healthy way forward for us because it's certainly not going to bring people forward to either share their positive or negative experiences or even bring people forward to say, 'I just don't know – I don’t know how to react in this environment', or what to say.

"We all know that this can be a bit of a minefield. Even the language we use around this area almost changes by the month. 

"So for me we've got to educate more, we've got to call it out in the dressing room much more effectively if we see it because perhaps all of us in the past – and I'm not just talking about cricket – have let things go. 

"We've got to be prepared to call them out and by that I don't mean we kick chairs and tables over and start a fight. 

"We just make it very clear that those sorts of behaviours aren't right in our dressing rooms or environments and actually in all workplaces because, although cricket has an opportunity to do something very strong, I don't believe for one minute these same issues don't exist in society. 

"So I think it’s a collective responsibility for all of us to do something about this."

Joe Root's England side are already well into their preparations for the first Ashes Test in Australia on December 8 at the Gabba.

While aware of the boisterous crowds and lively occasions an Ashes Test can be, Giles insisted he has given his backing for Root to remove his players from the field should his team-mates be abused based on their nationality or race.

"We know crowds can be lively here – I've experienced that myself as a player," he added as he spoke from Australia.

"But I'd certainly trust Joe Root to do what is right on the field. If he chose to bring the team into the middle of the field and stop the game while that was investigated, then absolutely. 

"I don't think any of our players should be subject to any abuse actually but discrimination and racism particularly."

Michael Vaughan has apologised "for the hurt Azeem Rafiq has gone through" amid his former Yorkshire team-mate's allegations of racism. 

Former England captain Vaughan was this month named in a report investigating Rafiq's claims of institutional racism at the county club.

The 47-year-old, who played for Yorkshire from 1993 to 2009 and led England to Ashes glory in 2005, allegedly said to a group of Asian team-mates there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it".

Rafiq's version of events have been supported by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

Vaughan, who was stood down from the BBC's coverage of the Ashes in wake of the allegations, has again denied the accusations made against him.

"I'm sorry for the hurt [Rafiq's] gone through," he told the BBC. "Time, I don't think, can ever be a healer in the situation that he's gone through.

"But hopefully time can be a way of us making sure that Yorkshire County Cricket Club never goes through this situation again and never puts themselves in a position of denial that they treated a player so badly."

He added: "It hurts deeply, hurts me that a player has gone through so much and be treated so badly at the club I love.

"I have to take some responsibility for that because I played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club for 18 years and if in any way shape or form I'm responsible for any of his hurt, I apologise for that."

Asked if he made any racist comments during his time at Yorkshire, Vaughan said: "No I didn't. No."

However, Vaughan, whose playing career spanned 18 years and saw him represent England for a decade, accepts there were many things he heard in dressing rooms that he "would not even consider to be acceptable now".

He added: "I would say any sportsperson that's out there from that era that says otherwise, I don't think they're telling the truth. There were things said and back in the day, it wasn't deemed to be offensive. It would be now.

"I can apologise if I was involved in any way, shape or form with a dressing room that had a culture that wasn't inclusive for everyone.

"My recollections are all the dressing rooms that I played in that we were inclusive to everyone. But I'm more than happy for people to come forward and say, 'you know what that wasn't the case'."

Michael Vaughan has been stood down from the BBC's coverage of the Ashes due to "a conflict of interest" amid recent allegations of racism made by ex-Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq.

The former England captain was this month named in a report investigating Rafiq's claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire.

Vaughan, who played for Yorkshire from 1993 to 2009 and led England to Ashes glory in 2005, allegedly said to a group of Asian team-mates there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it".

Rafiq's version of events have been supported by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, but Vaughan has strongly denied the allegations made against him.

The BBC withdrew Vaughan from his Radio 5 Live show three weeks ago and the corporation has now confirmed the 47-year-old – who first joined their radio team as a summariser in 2009 – will not form part of their upcoming Ashes coverage.

"While he is involved in a significant story in cricket, for editorial reasons we do not believe that it would be appropriate for Michael Vaughan to have a role in our Ashes team or wider coverage of the sport at the moment," said a BBC statement.

"We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest."

Vaughan is also contracted to commentate for Australia's Fox network for the five-Test series, which begins in Brisbane on December 8.

In a statement made earlier this month, Vaughan said: "I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to restate this publicly because the 'you lot' comment simply never happened.

"It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players.

"I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made."

Azeem Rafiq has apologised and described himself as "ashamed" after anti-Semitic messages he sent in 2011 resurfaced.

The former Yorkshire cricketer, who this week made an emotional appearance in front of a parliamentary select committee amid claims of institutionalised racism in English cricket, posted an apology on Twitter on Thursday in the wake of his own offensive remarks circulating on social media.

The 30-year-old confirmed the messages, which were part of an exchange with another cricketer, were written by him but insisted "I am a different person today", having posted them at the age of 19.

"I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today," said Rafiq. "I have gone back to check my account and it is me – I have absolutely no excuses.

"I am ashamed of this exchange and have deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today."

In the note, posted on his Twitter account, Rafiq added: "I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this."

Rafiq was found to have suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq believes that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have "realised they messed up" in handling recent allegations of bullying and racism in cricket.

A day after delivering emotional testimony to the DCMS select committee on the abuse and bullying he suffered during his time at Yorkshire, Rafiq spoke to Sky Sports about the potential repercussions, including his opinion that the national governing body for cricket is unlikely to allow similar occurrences again.

The 30-year-old also expressed his belief that the "floodgates" may now open for similar complaints from within the game, and that these must be taken more seriously than his own allegations were.

"I do feel now it's going to be floodgates [opening] and a lot of victims of abuse are going to come forward and we need to listen to them, hear them, support them and work out a plan to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.

"I think you're going to get [complaints] into the hundreds and thousands, possibly, and I think it's the way they handle it. We've got here because of Yorkshire's handling of this.

"Yes, what happened was completely unacceptable but the way they've handled it has made it a lot bigger and showed them for what they are, so it depends how the game and individual counties handle it.

"I think the ECB have realised they messed up as well and they're not going to let another episode like this occur."

Rafiq also said he feels the positions of Yorkshire's director of cricket Martyn Moxon, and head coach Andrew Gale, are untenable, but there is potentially a route back for his former team-mate Gary Ballance.

All three were named by Rafiq during his testimony to the committee on Tuesday.

"They need to hear from me the effect their behaviour left me in, and I'd like to hear from them why. Why they felt that was all right but it's important we don't go to individuals and think about the institution, because these guys came into this place and were shaped by the culture and the environment," he added.

"I don't think Martyn and Andrew can [continue in their roles]. I think Gary – if he apologises properly and has some sort of acceptance and accountability – he should be allowed to play.

"But in terms of Andrew and Martyn, I don't think it's possible for Yorkshire to move forward with them still in there knowing full well what sort of role they played in that institution."

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq has told a parliamentary select committee he believes English cricket has a racism problem "up and down the country".

Rafiq's recent allegations against Yorkshire were followed by the resignations of chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur, and when asked by the committee on Tuesday if he believes English cricket is "institutionally racist", he replied: "Yes".

The 30-year-old was close to tears on numerous occasions during his testimony, adding that he feels he lost his career to racism, but hopes that by speaking out, the game can achieve "massive change" in future.

"I just wanted to live my dream and my family's dream," Rafiq told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee.

"I felt isolated, humiliated at times. On tour, Gary Ballance walked over and said, 'Why are you talking to him?'. Going past a corner shop, I was asked if my uncle owned it.

"Martyn Moxon [current Yorkshire director of cricket] and Andrew Gale [current Yorkshire head coach] were there. It never got stamped out."

The committee raised sections of Yorkshire's independent report into the matter that described Rafiq as a heavy drinker.

"I have been clear from the offset that I wasn't perfect. There were things I did that I felt I had to do to fit in, and I am not proud of them," Rafiq said.

"But that has no relation to racism. I should never, ever have been treated the way I was. When I spoke, I should have been listened to.

"But Yorkshire CCC, and the game as a whole, has a problem listening to the victim. There is no 'yeah, but...' to racism. There is no two sides to racism.

"My first incident of drinking, I was 15, I got pinned down at my local cricket club and had red wine poured down my throat.

"I felt like I had to drink to fit in. I regret that massively, but it has no bearing on the things I was called."

When asked if it would be fair to say what he has seen at Yorkshire is replicated at other counties, Rafiq said: "Without a shadow of a doubt. This is replicated up and down the country.

"I would like to see it as progress that people feel they can come forward and not be smeared against and discredited."

Representatives of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were also giving evidence on Tuesday.

Rafiq was also asked where he found the strength to come forward in the first place, and added: "I have a bit of Karachi and a bit of Barnsley in me. The pain I went through those few months, no one can put me through that again.

"I thought there may be some humanity left, but no. It was all about discredit, discredit, discredit.

"All I wanted was an acceptance, an apology, an understanding, and let's try and work together to ensure it never happens again.

"If Yorkshire had seen this as an opportunity to make a real difference in society and the game, this could have gone in a completely different direction.

"They didn't do that, and that is why we are where we are."

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