Was bullied and targeted because of my race: Azeem Rafiq

Rafiq had made claims that he was “ridiculed” for not drinking and was excluded from social events as a result during his time at Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq had two stints with Yorkshire Cricket County Club.   -  yorkshireccc.com

Former Yorkshire off-spinner Azeem Rafiq stood by his allegations that he faced racism during his time at the county club as investigation into his claims has begun.

Rafiq’s allegations are being investigated by the legal firm, Squire Patton Boggs.

The 29-year-old Rafiq, who is of Pakistani origin, had told ESPN Cricinfo about how he was “bullied and targeted” because of his race and alleged that Asian players were sometimes referred to as “Pakis” or “elephant washers” and told to “go back to where you came from“.

In a statement issued on Friday, Yorkshire County Cricket Club said: “We have taken the claims made by our former player, Azeem Rafiq, very seriously and a full investigation conducted by Squire Patton Boggs, an independent law firm, began in September.”

“I have spoken out about the racism I faced because I don’t want kids to go through what I did,” Rafiq, who has launched a Crowd Justice page to help cover his legal costs, said in the statement.

“I want to see kids starting off their journey in cricket in a culture of acceptance and respect, where they are judged on their talent and not on their culture and identity.”

Rafiq had made claims that he was “ridiculed” for not drinking and was excluded from social events as a result.

“Not becoming part of that social scene very much reflected on how I was treated in the dressing room,” he had told Cricinfo.

He also felt that his Asia roots contributed largely to the racial abuse that he faced at the county.

“I was singled out specifically because I was Asian. It was as if I was being reprimanded for my race by engaging with white players as if to remind me that it was not my place, that I did not belong with them.”

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