ECB slam Yorkshire for "leading game into serious disrepute" over racism scandal

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison believes Yorkshire County Cricket Club were "leading the game into serious disrepute" with their handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

The ECB released a statement on Thursday, announcing that they had suspended the county from staging international fixtures and major matches.

They also criticised Yorkshire's response to the scandal, stating that it was "a significant breach of its obligations to the game".

Now, Harrison has gone into more detail on the ECB's decision to suspend Yorkshire, telling reporters: "In this situation we have a dual role. We are the regulator.

"We've launched an investigation following the report from Yorkshire. We've also launched our own regulatory investigation, which is going to take time.

"But we also act as the national governing body and it is in response to Yorkshire's handling of this affair, the board felt that it was time to intervene to address the serious concerns we had on governance and leadership processes at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, which was leading the game into serious disrepute.

"And that's what led to us as the ECB board taking the range of measures we took yesterday evening."

Yorkshire recently said they were "pleased" to announce that none of their current employees, players or executives would face any disciplinary action, despite several senior figures from the time of the accusations still involved at the club.

And it was this announcement that prompted the ECB to take such strong action, Harrison revealed.

"It was about the game being dragged through the mud and the disrepute as a result of the press statement that was made by Yorkshire CCC last week, that no action was going to be taken in response to the upheld allegations of racism that the investigation had yielded," he added.

"I think that was the moment where we felt that we were going to be dealing with something very different – not a breach of regulations per se, but a breach of the set of values that we have in cricket, and the strategy that we've adopted and the unwritten contract that you have with people about their involvement in this game, that the game will be there for you.

"It became very clear very quickly that we would have to take significant action because actually the message was that cricket is light on racism.

"And there is no way on earth that that can ever be the message – racism has no place in this sport.

"Any form of discrimination has no place in this sport. We need to take decisive action because Yorkshire have failed to do that, so we did."

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