Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan set to be only sole charged attendee at racism hearing
The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Tuesday that former Yorkshire player and bowling coach Richard Pyrah had informed it he would not be attending, joining Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and John Blain in refusing to engage with the process.
However, the Cricket Discipline Commission panel will still hear the charges against those five individuals in their absence. The other individual charged, Gary Ballance, has admitted a charge of using racially discriminatory language and will not appear, the ECB said.
The ECB revealed Yorkshire had also admitted four amended charges and that their representatives would therefore not appear at the hearing.
These included a failure to address systemic use of racist and/or discriminatory language over a prolonged period, and a failure to take adequate action in respect of allegations of racist and/or discriminatory behaviour.
Yorkshire issued their own statement confirming they had admitted the charges, with chair Lord Kamlesh Patel saying: “Today’s announcement is an important step forward for Yorkshire County Cricket Club as part of its journey to learn from the past.
“Since becoming chair it has been clear that we needed to accept and take accountability as a club for the cultural issues which allowed racist and discriminatory behaviour to go unchallenged.
“We should be proud of the work that has been done to build new foundations for a club whose ambition is to become truly welcome to all.”
Following confirmation that Ballance and Yorkshire had admitted the charges, Rafiq said in a statement: “I want to thank both Yorkshire and Gary for doing the right thing and wish them all the best for the future.”
The ECB confirmed the hearing would take place in London between March 1 and 9.
Rafiq has previously alleged Vaughan told him and a group of other players of Asian ethnicity there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” during a huddle before a Yorkshire match in 2009.
Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan have both corroborated Rafiq’s account of the incident. Ajmal Shahzad has stated he did not hear Vaughan say these words, and Vaughan himself strenuously denies the allegation.
Rafiq first spoke out about the racism he had suffered at Yorkshire, and the impact of it on his mental health, in an interview in August 2020.
A subsequent independent investigation commissioned by the county upheld seven of the 43 allegations he made, but Yorkshire announced in October 2021 that no individuals would face censure as a consequence of the investigation.
Yorkshire’s handling of Rafiq’s case prompted major changes in the county’s leadership, with Roger Hutton stepping down as chair to be replaced by Lord Patel. The ECB also stripped the county of the right to host lucrative international matches at Headingley until governance reforms were implemented.
The ECB charged the seven individuals – Ballance, Blain, Bresnan, Gale, Hoggard, Pyrah and Vaughan – in June last year, along with Yorkshire.