Azeem Rafiq: Moeen Ali ‘not surprised’ by Yorkshire scandal; hopes it leads to change in cricket

England all-rounder Moeen Ali feels there are there are “probably more stories out there” like Azeem Rafiq’s following Yorkshire racism scandal; Moeen hopes situation leads to change, “We don’t want to have to go through what we’re going through right now again, in five, 10 years’ time”

Last Updated: 09/11/21 9:17am


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England all-rounder Moeen Ali says Azeem Rafiq’s actions have made it easier for others to speak out about issues of discrimination and mental health

England all-rounder Moeen Ali says Azeem Rafiq’s actions have made it easier for others to speak out about issues of discrimination and mental health

England all-rounder Moeen Ali says he is not surprised by the allegations of racism made against Yorkshire by Azeem Rafiq and believes “there are probably more stories out there”.

A report found former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” but the Headingley club said they would not discipline any players, coaches or executives.

Yorkshire’s handling of the situation has been widely criticised and the ECB has suspended the club from hosting any international or major matches until it “clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected”.

Speaking from the UAE, where England are preparing from their T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Moeen said he hoped Rafiq’s allegations and subsequent fallout will change cricket for the good.

“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised but there’s probably more stories out there that people haven’t heard of,” said the 34-year-old.

Cindy Butts, the Chair of Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket explains why they are calling for evidence of discrimination and good practice from the elite and grassroots game.

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Cindy Butts, the Chair of Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket explains why they are calling for evidence of discrimination and good practice from the elite and grassroots game.

Cindy Butts, the Chair of Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket explains why they are calling for evidence of discrimination and good practice from the elite and grassroots game.

“The fact it’s come out is great because, going forward, people will have to think about what they can or can’t say in terms of discriminating against people and knowing what people feel and go through.

“What Azeem has done, he is not doing it for any personal gain, I think he wants change and that’s what he’s pushing for.

“Sometimes you need to have a bit of a dip to really come out. That’s from Yorkshire’s point of view as well as the whole cricket community and culture. There’s going to be big changes.”

The new chair of Yorkshire county cricket club, Lord Kamlesh Patel, has apologised to Azeem Rafiq for the club's handling of his racism case and praised him for speaking out about his experiences at the club.

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The new chair of Yorkshire county cricket club, Lord Kamlesh Patel, has apologised to Azeem Rafiq for the club’s handling of his racism case and praised him for speaking out about his experiences at the club.

The new chair of Yorkshire county cricket club, Lord Kamlesh Patel, has apologised to Azeem Rafiq for the club’s handling of his racism case and praised him for speaking out about his experiences at the club.

Moeen’s former England team-mate Gary Ballance has admitted using a racial slur towards Rafiq during their time together at Yorkshire, which the club initially concluded was “friendly and good-natured banter”.

Moeen added: “It’s not banter at the end of the day.

“We’ve got to be really careful with the language that we use. The environment is really important, because when the environment is right, that sort of language doesn’t come out.

“Somebody might take it well and somebody might not. I don’t think you should ever use that type of language.”

Dr Dan Kilvington, a senior lecturer at the Leeds Beckett University who has written extensively on issues of race and racism within sport, says that the issue is going through a pivotal time in history.

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Dr Dan Kilvington, a senior lecturer at the Leeds Beckett University who has written extensively on issues of race and racism within sport, says that the issue is going through a pivotal time in history.

Dr Dan Kilvington, a senior lecturer at the Leeds Beckett University who has written extensively on issues of race and racism within sport, says that the issue is going through a pivotal time in history.

England Test bowler Ollie Robinson was suspended by the ECB this summer after racist and sexist tweets he posted in the past emerged.

Moeen said: “I think a lot of players have learned from the Ollie Robinson situation and I think it’s made people more aware of things that they probably weren’t aware of before.

“It doesn’t look great right now, but hopefully in the future, it will make a massive impact and that’s what we want.

“I know one thing the ECB has always done since I’ve been playing is to try and really push those boundaries and open up those avenues for everybody, really.

“We’re a multicultural country where diversity is rife and that’s what we want. We don’t want to have to go through what we’re going through right now again, in five years’ time, 10 years’ time.”



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