Twenty20 Cup July 14, 2008

Yorkshire Twenty20 appeal fails

Cricinfo staff

The player in the spotlight, Azeem Rafiq © PA Photos

Yorkshire have failed in their appeal against the ECB's decision to throw them out of this year's Twenty20 Cup for fielding an ineligible player - the 17-year-old Azeem Rafiq - during their match against Nottinghamshire on June 27. As a result, Glamorgan will now play Durham in the quarter-final, possibly on July 21.

The June 27 match had been awarded to Nottinghamshire, but this was overturned by an independent panel at Taunton on Monday. Yorkshire were deemed the official victors, in spite of Rafiq's involvement, but crucially Yorkshire have been deducted two points. Consequently, this dumps Nottinghamshire out of the Cup and allows Glamorgan into the quarter-finals owing to their superior run-rate.

Yorkshire's quarter-final clash against Durham was due to take place on July 7 but the match was abandoned mere minutes before the players took to the field. It soon arose that Rafiq, a former England Under-15 captain, was not officially registered to play first-class cricket in England, hence the confusion of his involvement in the previous game against Nottinghamshire.

To further rub salt into their wounds, Yorkshire's fine has now doubled. Glamorgan's chief executive, Mike Fatkin, told Sky Sports that he expected the match to take place on July 21 and that it would be free for spectators.

"Yorkshire claim that the failure to register Azeem Rafiq was the result of a technical oversight, that discretion should be exercised under regulation 2.1 and that the penalties imposed were 'manifestly disproportionate'," the Cricket Disciplinary Commission Appeals Panel said. "The facts were not in dispute and the panel accept that Yorkshire did not deliberately flout the registration regulations, that the panel find there was a systematic failing of process.

"The club was aware in 2007 that there were questions as to the player's immigration status, that they failed properly to check the eligibility for registration, then or thereafter. They still had not done so when they submitted their list of registered players to ECB in April 2008. An application for registration, if made, would have immediately flagged up the problems.

"The player not being qualified to play for England needs the consent of the ECB Board before he can be registered. Only registered cricketers are governed the discipline and anti-doping regulations. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that the counties exercise the greatest care over the question of registration so as to avoid the consequences that a breach may attract adverse publicity for the club and the game in general, as happened in this case.

"Given the serious breach of the regulations the panel find it appropriate to deduct the two points received by Yorkshire in the match against Nottinghamshire though the result will stand. Yorkshire are also required to pay £2,000 in total towards the costs of both hearings."

The biggest loser is, of course, Rafiq himself, who is said not to have coped well with the chaotic happenings of the last week. To compound his frustration, he has been blocked from captaining an ECB Under-17 side tomorrow - a team for whom he has played for some years. The biggest winner out of the whole situation is undoubtedly Glamorgan.

"We've got what we deserved,'' Paul Russell, the Glamorgan chairman, said.

Twenty20 Finals Day is on Saturday July 26 at The Rose Bowl, with Middlesex, Essex and Kent the three sides confirmed so far.