Yorkshire CCC racism crisis: Live updates as Tom Harrison gives evidence to MPs after Azeem Rafiq's testimony

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison arriving for the hearing.ECB chief executive Tom Harrison arriving for the hearing.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison arriving for the hearing.
Follow live coverage of today's Parliamentary select committee hearing into the Yorkshire CCC racism crisis.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing is due to begin at 9.30am with evidence from former player Azeem Rafiq. Other witnesses include former Yorkshire CCC chairman Roger Hutton and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison.

Yorkshire CCC: Live updates as Tom Harrison gives evidence to MPs after Azeem Rafiq’s testimony

Key Events

  • ECB chief executive Tom Harrison giving evidence
  • Follows evidence by ex-Yorkshire CCC chair Roger Hutton
  • Two hours of powerful testimony given by Azeem Rafiq

The hearing has now ended. Thank you for joining us for this live blog and follow The Yorkshire Post for more updates on this story throughout the day.

Graves Trust ‘a roadblock to reform'

Committee chair Julian Knight said evidence has been given by Mr Hutton that the involvement of the Graves Family trustees, who are owed £15m by Yorkshire and are linked to former ECB and Yorkshire chairman Colin Graves, were a roadblock to reform at Yorkshire CCC.

Mr Knight said the situation appeared “desperately unhealthy for the game”.

Mr Harrison said the issue will be examined as part of a governance review of Yorkshire and accepted Mr Knight’s assertion that it could be a “major problem”.

‘Issues around institutional racism’ at Yorkshire CCC

Asked whether he agrees with Mr Hutton’s assessment that Yorkshire CCC is institutionally racists, Tom Harrison said: “I think the handling of the report issues indicates issues around institutional racism.”

He won’t be drawn further on whether or not he considers the club to be institutionally racist, instead repeating his original answer.

‘Kevin’ allegations to be part of ECB investigation

Tom Harrison said he had not been aware of the use of the word ‘Kevin’ as an apparently derogatory term by senior cricketers until he read the Yorkshire report, and added: “It will now form part of the ECB investigation.”

A powerful summary here of Azeem Rafiq’s evidence.

ECB ‘couldn’t intervene in process'

The ECB said it could not intervene in any part of the regulatory process Yorkshire conducted, and Harrison said he did not personally raise as an issue with Yorkshire the fact that Hutton had been previously employed by the law firm leading the Rafiq investigation.

Botros said the reason the ECB had started an investigation into allegations of racism at Essex was because at that point, the county had not opened their own investigation. If they had, Botros said, the ECB would have waited for that process to be completed, as it had with Yorkshire.

Downing Street says Azeem Rafiq’s evidence was ‘concerning'

Downing Street described Azeem Rafiq’s evidence to the committee as “concerning”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Boris Johnson had been in meetings and had not watched any of the testimony.

But the spokesman added: “The evidence given this morning is concerning. There is no place for racism in sport.

“There is no place for racism anywhere in society.”

‘Lessons learned’ from process

Tom Harrison said: “The reason why Yorkshire were allowed to undergo this investigation is because – up to that point – it was fairly normal practice for first-class counties to run their own regulatory process.

“We have learned lessons through this process.”

Challenge to Hutton’s claims

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison appeared to refute Hutton’s suggestion that the county had asked the national governing body to handle Rafiq’s allegations and said Yorkshire “were very clear they wanted to run this investigation themselves”.

Meena Botros, director of legal and integrity at the ECB, said Yorkshire had only asked the ECB if it would like to put someone on the panel which would assess the investigation team’s findings.

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