Sport

Yorkshire racism hearing to be held in public after request from Azeem Rafiq

The impending Yorkshire racism hearing is to be held in public after the Cricket Disciplinary Commission acceded to a request for transparency from Azeem Rafiq, the central witness in the case.

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain, is among seven individuals who were charged by the CDC in June following Rafiq’s high-profile allegations of racism during his 10 seasons playing for Yorkshire. The club itself was also charged over its handling of the affair.

English cricket’s disciplinary cases are typically held behind closed doors but on Wednesday the three-person CDC panel chaired by Tim O’Gorman confirmed the process will be open when it gets under way at the end of this month. It comes after representations were made by Rafiq’s legal team and several media outlets at a directions hearing a fortnight ago.

While the England and Wales Cricket Board has not yet published the names of the seven individuals charged under its directives and anti-discrimination code, they are understood to include Vaughan, the former England internationals Tim Bresnan, Matthew Hoggard and Gary Ballance, plus Andrew Gale, the former Yorkshire captain and head coach.

Gale, who was among the 14 backroom staff members sacked by Yorkshire last year, has already stated he will not be engaging with the process while maintaining his innocence. It remains to be seen whether the CDC’s decision to make the hearing public now prompts others among the accused to follow suit.

Vaughan appears set to forge ahead in a bid to clear his name, however, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that its cricket columnist is “happy for the proceedings to be held in public and will appear to defend himself” against his single disciplinary charge.

The 48-year-old, who has stepped back from his work as a BBC pundit this year, was accused by Rafiq of saying “there are too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” to a group of four Asian-heritage teammates before a Twenty20 match in 2009, something he has consistently denied.

Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire leg-spinner who is in Australia as part of England’s T20 World Cup campaign, is expected to be a key witness here, having issued a statement last November which said: “I can confirm Azeem Rafiq’s recollection of Michael Vaughan’s comment to a group of us Asian players.”

As well as the forthcoming CDC hearings, the digital, culture, media and sport parliamentary select committee has announced it will hold a fresh evidence session on 13 December to examine the sport’s response to Rafiq’s allegations.

Yorkshire, meanwhile, have announced Stephen Vaughan as their new chief executive – the 47-year-old moving from another crisis-ridden club in rugby union’s Wasps – and turned Darren Gough’s role as acting director of cricket into a permanent appointment.