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Mark Arthur resigns as Yorkshire chief executive in wake of racism scandal

Long-serving executive stands down after tumultuous fortnight for club

An anti-racism banner hangs outside Yorkshire's Headingley Stadium in Leeds, Headingley, November 5, 2021

An anti-racism banner hangs outside Yorkshire's Headingley Stadium in Leeds  •  AFP/Getty Images

Mark Arthur has become the second senior official at Yorkshire to pay the price for the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal, as it was confirmed he has vacated his role as chief executive with immediate effect.
Arthur, who is due to give testimony at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee hearing next Monday, joins chairman Roger Hutton in vacating his position as the full consequences of the club's botched investigation into Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism became clear.
"Today the board at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has accepted the resignation of Mark Arthur as CEO," Lord Kamlesh Patel, the new chairman, said in a press release. "We thank him for his tenure.
"This is an important moment for the club which is ready to move forward with new leadership, which will be vital in driving the change we urgently need.
"We know there is still much work to be done and more difficult decisions to be made. We need to rebuild the trust of the fans, the cricketing world and the public".
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Patel had hinted that Arthur's position had become untenable after a torrid week for Yorkshire, adding that he would make "the right decisions in the coming days".
Arthur's departure comes after loss of a raft of key club sponsors including Emerald, Nike and Yorkshire Tea; an ECB suspension from hosting major matches, including next year's Test against New Zealand; and a wave of allegations of racist behaviour from past and present players, including Gary Ballance, Michael Vaughan, and the current coach Andrew Gale.
It was also confirmed that Yorkshire had settled their long-running employment tribunal with Rafiq, who was awarded a six-figure sum and offered an unreserved apology from Patel, both for the treatment he had received in his time at the club, and for their previous attempts to impose a gagging order in return for a settlement.
Arthur, who took over as chief executive in 2013 after 13 years at Nottingham Forest, oversaw a period of on-field success for Yorkshire, which peaked with back-to-back County Championships in 2014 and 2015, and also signed off the successful rebuilding of the Football Stand End of the ground in a £45 million redevelopment that was completed in 2019.
He oversaw a number of community projects within the county, including the redevelopment of Bradford Park Avenue cricket ground, and six years of progress with the club's South Asian engagement programme.
However, he has been a repeated target of Rafiq's frustration given Yorkshire's inaction in the racism case. On Monday, Rafiq repeated his call for Arthur to step down, along with the director of cricket, Martyn Moxon, whose position - along with that of Gale as head coach - also appears untenable.
"I've had eight fantastic years at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, working alongside an outstanding group of people, and together achieving many highlights," Arthur said. "I would like to thank the members for their support over this period and wish the club all the very best in the years to come."
The news comes as it was confirmed that Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive, and Barry O'Brien, the interim chair, have been added to the list of witnesses at next week's DCMS hearing.
Harrison, who is currently in the UAE for the ICC's first in-person chief executives' meeting since the pandemic, spent the early part of the week in Pakistan, where he met with the PCB chairman, Ramiz Raja, to reaffirm England's commitment to next year's multi-format tour of the country.