Azeem Rafiq: Middlesex chairman comments 'confirm endemic racism problem' in cricket
'This has just confirmed what an endemic problem the game has'
Azeem Rafiq has responded to the remarks made by Middlesex County Cricket Club chairman, Mike O'Farrell, in front of the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee in the House of Commons.
During the hearing in front of the DCMS, O'Farrell claimed that certain ethnic groups, including the Afro-Caribbean and South Asian communities in Britain, were not as interested in cricket in comparison to others across the UK.
"They do not want to commit the same time to go to the next step because they sometimes prefer to go into other educational fields."
Middlesex CCC Chairman Mike O'Farrell explains cricket's lack of diversity by citing not one but two racial stereotypes pic.twitter.com/489VIQSfpj
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) January 25, 2022
During the hearing, he said: "They [the South Asian community] prefer to go into other educational fields and cricket becomes secondary because it's a rather more time-consuming sport than others.
"The other thing in the diversity bit is that in the football and rugby worlds become much more attractive to the Afro-Caribbean community.
"And in terms of the South Asian community, there's a moment where we're finding they do not want necessarily to commit the same time that is necessary to go to the next step because they prefer – I'm not saying they always do it, they sometimes prefer – to go into other educational fields and then cricket becomes secondary.
"And part of that is because it is rather more time-consuming sport than some others."
The comments caused outrage on social media with former Yorkshire cricketer Rafiq - whose detailed account of his own personal experience of racism in the sport sparked this investigation - expressed his shock on Twitter.
This has just confirmed what a endemic problem the game has
I actually can’t believe what I am listening to#GiveMeStrength
— Azeem Rafiq (@AzeemRafiq30) January 25, 2022
Rafiq tweeted: "This has just confirmed what an endemic problem the game has I actually can’t believe what I am listening to," before posting the hashtag, "#Givemestrength."
In November, Rafiq's testimony in front of the DCMS in the House of Commons sent shockwaves around the world as he told grim details of his experiences of racism and bullying, including being 'pinned down' and forced to drink red wine by his teammates at the age of 15 as well as comments he received during his time at Yorkshire CCC.
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