Doughty Street Barristers instructed in Whistleblower Azeem Rafiq’s Race Discrimination case against Yorkshire Country Cricket Club
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, Azeem Rafiq, a British-Pakistani cricketer, spoke out publicly about his experience of racism at the Yorkshire Country Cricket Club (YCCC). In response, the YCCC announced an inquiry into his allegations, which have since been substantiated by former YCCC employees, including test players Tino Best and Rana Naveed-ul-Hassan.
The former under-15 and under-19 England cricket captain has now brought a legal claim against YCCC under the Equality Act, claiming direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and protected disclosure (whistleblower) detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club. Mr Rafiq’s legal claim seeks a declaration that the club acted unlawfully, as well as financial damages for the harm and detriment he suffered. The claim also makes recommendations to ensure that changes are brought about at the club to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The allegations made by Mr Rafiq have been widely reported in the media and include the use of expressly racist “dressing room banter”, including language addressed at non-white players such as “Paki”, “elephant washers”, “go back where you came from” and characterising players of Pakistani origin as “other”, “different” and “difficult”. Mr Rafiq has also spoken publicly about his concern about YCCC’s failure to respect the ethnic beliefs of Pakistani players and players of Pakistani descent, including the non-provision of Halal food facilities, pressure to engage with the drinking culture at the club, and officials laughing in response to alcohol being thrown on a Muslim child at a match.
Mr Rafiq said
“Those who have, like me, been on the receiving end of racism and discrimination will understand how hard it is to open up about the pain and suffering it causes. I feel a sense of relief to finally speak about it and that my healing process can now begin.
“I hope this claim will give me the closure I need and that the recommendations from the Tribunal will help bring about change for our future generations in cricket.”