Yorkshire gets green light to host internationals after reforms approved

Yorkshire was barred from staging internationals in the wake of a racism scandal involving allegations by former spinner Azeem Rafiq.

Headingley is scheduled to host England's third test against New Zealand from June 24 and the final match of their one-day international series against South Africa in July.   -  REUTERS

Yorkshire County Cricket Club can continue to host international cricket at Headingley after its members voted in favour of governance reforms on Thursday, meeting the conditions set out by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Yorkshire was barred from staging internationals in the wake of a racism scandal involving allegations by former spinner Azeem Rafiq. The ECB lifted the ban in February on condition the club approved structural changes to the board.

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Kamlesh Patel has been formally confirmed as Yorkshire's chairman, having taken over in November from Roger Hutton after Rafiq's explosive allegations led to resignations at the club.

Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent and a former captain of the England Under-19s, said last year he was made to feel like an outsider at Yorkshire and alleged that he was a victim of institutional racism at the club.

"We welcome the outcome of this EGM and thank the Members for their full and proper consideration, an open exchange of views, and their votes. It is an overwhelming vote for positive change," Patel said in a statement on Thursday.

"This support will help Yorkshire County Cricket Club to be an inclusive and welcoming place and gives us the clarity and certainty we need to keep building this great club."

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Headingley is scheduled to host England's third test against New Zealand from June 24 and the final match of their one-day international series against South Africa in July.

Rafiq welcomed the reforms and praised Patel's leadership.

"Relieved to see Lord Patel's reforms backed today and that Yorkshire members chose a bright, inclusive future for my club," the 30-year-old wrote on Twitter.

"Big opportunity to show the world what can be achieved when you have strong leadership and good people."

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