Search icon


04th Nov 2021

ECB suspend Yorkshire from hosting England matches

Daniel Brown

They have been banned from hosting international or major matches

The England and Wales Cricket Board have suspended Yorkshire from hosting England matches following the racism allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq.

The ban follows the investigation into the handling of allegations which were raised by Rafiq, who had accused the side of “institutional racism” during his two spells at Yorkshire between 2008 and 2018.

Rafiq reported 43 separate allegations of racism during his time at Yorkshire.

Since Rafiq spoke out a year ago, an independent panel was set up to assess the claims on behalf of the cricket club, which led to an apology given to Rafiq, but no disciplinary action was taken.

The ECB have announced that the ban will last until the club has “clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected”.

The ECB Board have today (4 November) released a statement discussing the developments in relation to Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

It read: “It is clear to the Board that YCCC’s handling of the issues raised by Azeem Rafiq is wholly unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game. The ECB find this matter abhorrent and against the spirit of cricket and its values.

“There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination in cricket and where it is found, swift action must be taken. This matter must be dealt with robustly if the sport is to demonstrate its commitment to truly being a game for everyone”.

It later added: “The Board reiterated its unwavering commitment to ensuring that cricket is a game for everyone.

“Discrimination of any kind on the field of play, in the dressing room, in the stands, or in the boardroom is intolerable in sport or indeed, society. Cricket must work together to eradicate it.”

Included in the statement was a number of agreements made by the ECB board, which confirmed that, while the investigation is taking place, Yorkshire County Cricket Club will be banned from hosting international or major matches until it has “clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County.”

Headingley Cricket Ground is due to host a men’s Test against New Zealand and a men’s one-day international against South Africa in 2022, as well as being scheduled to host an Ashes Test against Australia in 2023.

As well as confirming that Yorkshire had been suspended from hosting England matches, the ECB confirmed that Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance – who admitted to using racist language towards ex-team-mate Rafiq – has been suspended indefinitely from England selection.

“Before any regulatory investigation is complete, the Board wishes to take immediate action in relation to Gary Ballance,” said the ECB.

“While Mr Ballance has not been selected to play for England since 2017, he will be suspended indefinitely from selection. This position will be reviewed following the ECB regulatory investigation into his conduct.”

As reported by Sky News, chairman of Yorkshire Cricket Club, Roger Hutton, was summoned to a parliamentary Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, with Rafiq also expected to attend which is expected to take place on 16 November.

This came as a result of several high profile MP’s including Sajid Javid who spoke out against their actions whilst former labour leader Ed Miliband and others have wrote to the England and Wales Cricket Board to demand action.

Related links: