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Azeem Rafiq case: Yorkshire board ignored complaints of racism, lip service to the issue

The Yorkshire board ignored the complaints of racism and spoke lip service to address the problem, says the club’s former director of cultural diversity during the Azeem Rafiq investigation, claiming that the players of Asian origin were retained.

  • Former Yorkshire Cultural Diversity Officer claims the term ‘P ***’ was used regularly at the club
  • Tony Bowry also alleges that the Yorkshire board ignored the complaints of racism.
  • Bowry testified in support of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations against the club
  • Much attention was paid to things. Something has to be done, ” he said.


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The former Yorkshire cultural diversity officer claims the term ‘P ***’ was used regularly during his time at the club.

Tony Bowry, who served from 1996 to 2011, also alleges that the Yorkshire board ignored the complaints of racism and believes the club used “lip service” to try to address the problem.

Bowry provided evidence in support of Azeem Rafiq during the investigation into the player’s racism allegations, which have rocked Yorkshire. The subsequent report found that Rafiq had been called a ‘P ***’ by his teammate Gary Ballance, but this was dismissed as a ‘joke’.

The term 'P ***' was used regularly in Yorkshire, says the club's former director of cultural diversity.

The term ‘P ***’ was used regularly in Yorkshire, says the club’s former director of cultural diversity.

Former Yorkshire employee Tony Bowry made the reveal while providing evidence in support of Azeem Rafiq (pictured)

Former Yorkshire employee Tony Bowry made the reveal while providing evidence in support of Azeem Rafiq (pictured)

Former Yorkshire employee Tony Bowry made the reveal while providing evidence in support of Azeem Rafiq (pictured)

When asked if he knew that derogatory term was used casually in Headingley, Bowry, who is of Caribbean origin, said: ‘Absolutely. It was there. A colleague I worked with said, “You’re fine, but I don’t like P ****.” “ I was really tough on him because I really didn’t like what he said.

Jokes and racism don’t go hand in hand. They are two different things. It was reported to the board on several occasions.

‘We had a BAME forum, which was about this kind of thing and when the BAME forum was reported, it was brought to board meetings. They didn’t always do much with it from there. That’s where it ended.

‘There were many aspects of what you saw or did not see in Yorkshire. Much attention was paid to things. They have to change. We have to do something.’

A protest was held in front of the club's Headingley Stadium in support of Rafiq

A protest was held in front of the club's Headingley Stadium in support of Rafiq

A protest was held in front of the club’s Headingley Stadium in support of Rafiq

Bowry said he believed the Asian-born Yorkshire players were being held back

Bowry said he believed the Asian-born Yorkshire players were being held back

Bowry said he believed the Asian-born Yorkshire players were being held back

Bowry also believes that Asian-born Yorkshire players were held back because of their skin color.

“Some of the Asian players came to see me and we had conversations,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

‘One of them wanted to stay in the game and I asked him if he could become a referee.

“ Eventually he went down that road and was on the umpire reserve panel for about four or five years without any promotion, even though he had good records. ”

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