Hoggard withdraws from hearings into Rafiq racism allegations

Rafiq, 31, first raised allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to his two spells at Yorkshire.

Matthew Hoggard during a press coference. (File Photo)

Matthew Hoggard during a press coference. (File Photo) | Photo Credit: K. RAMESH BABU

Rafiq, 31, first raised allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to his two spells at Yorkshire.

Former England international bowler Matthew Hoggard said on Friday he has withdrawn from the disciplinary process involving allegations made by his former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq over fears he will not get a fair hearing.

Hoggard, who was part of the England team which won the 2005 Ashes, was one of seven individuals charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last June in a disciplinary case examining allegations of racism and bullying.

He believes the drawn out disciplinary process has “failed” everyone involved, including Rafiq. Hoggard is accused of using racist language during his time at Yorkshire.

“I’m pulling out because I don’t think it’s a fair process,” Hoggard told the BBC.

“There are no winners in this. It is not an admission of guilt. The people who know the truth, know the truth. That is all that matters to me.”

Another former England international, Tim Bresnan, and John Blain have also reportedly withdrawn from the process because they believe they would not get a fair hearing.

They join former Yorkshire captain and head coach Andrew Gale, who has refused to engage with the process.

“The process has failed everybody. Every party involved has a problem with the way this process has been dealt with,” added Hoggard.

“Azeem has a problem with it, all the respondents have, (former Yorkshire chairman) Lord Patel has, Yorkshire have. There has got to be a better way.”

The ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) will hear the charges in March.

Following a request from Rafiq, the hearings are due to take place in public.

As it stands only former England captain Michael Vaughan, ex-England batsman Gary Ballance and Richard Pyrah remain cooperative with the process.

“Individuals are entitled to choose not to participate in the hearings if they wish, but the cases will still be heard in their absence and we are satisfied that the disciplinary process in this matter has been both rigorous and fair,” the ECB said in a statement.

“The ECB’s investigation and disciplinary process has been overseen by an independent committee and specialist leading King’s Counsel.”

Rafiq, 31, first raised allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020, related to his two spells at Yorkshire.

The county apologised for “racial harassment and bullying” after an investigation partially upheld Rafiq’s claims a year later.

However, the findings of the investigation were not published and no player, employee or executive faced disciplinary action as a result of its findings, sparking widespread criticism.

Yorkshire were briefly stripped of the right to host international matches at Headingley by the ECB, leading to the resignations of former chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur.

New chairman Lord Kamlesh Patel then sacked 16 members of the club’s coaching and backroom staff, including Gale and bowling coach Pyrah.

But both subsequently agreed compensation packages with Yorkshire after claims for unfair dismissal.

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