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Racism case Yorkshire: ECB investigation ‘deeply disappointing’ – Roger Hutton

Headingley – Yorkshire’s home ground – will host the third Test between England and New Zealand this week

Former Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton has criticized the England and Wales Cricket Board’s “deeply disappointing” handling of the club’s racism scandal.

But Hutton said the process had been “poor” and questioned his independence.

The former chair said he was dismayed that the ECB’s conduct during the affair had not been investigated.

The ECB declined to comment.

Last week, the governing body said it had completed what it called a “thorough and complex” investigation.

Details of racial abuse in Yorkshire first surfaced in September 2020, when former player Azeem Rafiq said the discrimination made him feel suicidal.

Yorkshire then launched “a formal investigation” and a year later an independent panel confirmed seven of Rafiq’s 43 allegations.

However, the panel’s report was not made public and no player, employee or officer faced disciplinary action as a result of its findings.

The result sparked widespread criticism, and in November 2021 the ECB suspended Yorkshire from hosting international matches at Headingley “until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the expected standards”. Then-Chairman Hutton resigned, as did Chief Executive Mark Arthur.

The ECB restored Yorkshire’s right to host England Test matches after governance reforms and staff overhauls. She then completed what she called a “thorough and complex” investigation to determine the grounds for the charges against both the county and the individuals involved.

But Hutton – who criticized the ECB last year when he testified before a parliamentary committee and claimed they could have done more to help the county investigate Rafiq’s allegations – says he found it “deeply disappointing” that the governing body did not “consider” it was appropriate to investigate the behavior of those at the ECB”.

“You will recall that the ECB knew about Azeem’s allegations before I did. They didn’t do anything about it,” he said.

“They didn’t offer YCCC any help [Yorkshire] despite the apparent difficulties she faced in investigating, and when YCCC asked her for help, they refused. I think that should be questioned.

“I also believe that the ECB investigation itself was bad.”

Hutton criticized “a lack of independence”.

“I raised these concerns with the ECB and they dismissed them,” he said.

“I strongly believe that cricket would be better served by a fully independent regulator, so not only would this ensure a fair and objective process that everyone can rely on.”

The ECB conducted its own investigation into the saga, but it was overseen by a regulatory committee, which has an independent chair and is composed of several independent members.

The charges will be heard by an independent panel of the Cricket Disciplinary Committee.

The ECB has declined to name suspects.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan and former Yorkshire players Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and Andrew Gale are understood to be among those charged.

` Sport has reached out to people for comment.

Former Yorkshire and England captain Vaughan announced that he had been accused of making racist remarks to Rafiq and other players, but has repeatedly denied the claims.

Vaughan told the ` he has never made racist comments in the county. He admitted to regretting some tweets he had sent in the past.

The ECB has also been criticized by three other former Yorkshire leaders – Colin Graves, Steve Denison and Robin Smith – who, along with Hutton, also shared with the Telegraph their concerns about the handling of the process.

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