LONDON (AFP): A hearing into the racism scandal at Yorkshire county cricket club started on Wednesday with former England international Tim Bresnan accused of making a racist comment towards the sister of Azeem Rafiq.
It is more than two years since Rafiq alleged he was subjected to racist abuse while playing for English county Yorkshire.
During Wednesday’s proceedings of an independent Cricket Discipline Commission in London, it was alleged Bresnan, an ex-Yorkshire all-rounder, used a racial slur against Rafiq’s sister Amna in 2014.
Jane Mulcahy KC, the lawyer for the England and Wales Cricket Board, said Bresnan is alleged to have directed the term “fit Paki” and “FP” towards Asian women, including Rafiq’s sister Amna at a Yorkshire media day.
He was also alleged to have referred to Rafiq and Asian team-mates Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan as “the brothers” and “you lot”.
In a previous statement, Bresnan has denied the allegations, having claimed the term “brothers” was used but not in a discriminatory or racial way.
The 38-year-old, capped 23 times at Test level by England, also insisted he had no recollection of using the phrase “you lot” in a match against Derbyshire and claimed to have never met Amna Rafiq.
Bresnan is one of several former Yorkshire players and coaches, including Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard, Richard Pyrah and John Blain, who have refused to engage with the Discipline Commission process.
But the CDC panel will still hear the charges against them in their absence.
Hoggard and Blain, like Bresnan, have denied a charge of bringing the game into disrepute and allegations of using racial or discriminatory language.
However, Mulcahy said it was “more likely than not” each of the trio used the racist phrases alleged.
Gary Ballance, also charged, has already admitted using racially discriminatory language and will not appear.
Ballance, a former England Test player, is now playing for the country of his birth, Zimbabwe.
Yorkshire confirmed last week that documents relating to racism allegations against the club were deleted under the previous regime.
Pakistan-born Rafiq, 32, first raised allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to the spin bowler’s two spells at Yorkshire.
He told a British parliamentary committee in December 2022 the abuse he and his family had faced had forced him to leave the UK.
Disrepute charges against seven individuals with prior connections to Yorkshire were issued by the ECB last June, with the club also charged.
But the only charged individual still set to appear is ex-England captain Michael Vaughan.
Rafiq alleges Vaughan told him and a group of Yorkshire team-mates of Asian ethnicity there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” at a match in 2009.
Vaughan categorically denies the allegation, but Rafiq’s claim has been corroborated by England leg-spinner Rashid, as well as former Pakistan paceman Naved.