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Azeem Rafiq raises doubts over 'evidence being ignored' in Yorkshire racism investigation

Investigating law firm says it is keen to hear from "anyone who has relevant information" about alleged racism

George Dobell
George Dobell
Yorkshire have been conducting an investigation into Azeem Rafiq's allegations of racism during his time at the club  •  Getty Images

Yorkshire have been conducting an investigation into Azeem Rafiq's allegations of racism during his time at the club  •  Getty Images

Doubts have been raised over the value of Yorkshire's investigation into allegations of racism made last year by former player Azeem Rafiq after witnesses complained they hadn't been contacted.
As part of the investigation, commissioned by Yorkshire in September and overseen by law firm Squire Patton Boggs, Rafiq's legal team provided a bundle of evidence at the start of November. It contained the testimonies and contact details of around a dozen witnesses who claimed they had seen racist behaviour while working within the Yorkshire cricket environment.
It now appears the majority of those witnesses have not heard back from the investigating team. Among those potential witnesses are two former Yorkshire players, two former county age-group coaches (one of whom says he was told not to select "too many Pakis" in Yorkshire age-group teams), a league umpire and a grassroots coach.
A representative of Squire Patton Boggs told ESPNcricinfo: "The panel is very concerned to hear the allegation that several people came forward to offer evidence but 'never heard back from the investigating team'.
"We believe that we have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that we have spoken to everyone who has come forward, and we are certainly not aware that we have failed to respond to any such person.
"The panel would welcome the opportunity to hear any further relevant evidence, including from anyone who has relevant information for the investigation but feels they have not been accorded the opportunity to present it."
Anyone with information that could help the investigation is urged to email as a matter of urgency. The panel had originally hoped to report before the end of 2020.
It has previously emerged that Roger Hutton, Yorkshire's chair, used to work at Squire Patton Boggs.
Earlier in the week Ajmal Shahzad, who played for Yorkshire alongside Rafiq, told the Press Association that his own experiences at the club "were always good." Rafiq has claimed Shahzad was with him when a senior player said "there's too many of your lot" in the team as they ran out at the start of a match.
"I want to believe in this investigation," Rafiq told ESPNcricinfo. "But when it seems your evidence is being ignored, it's hard to retain confidence.
"I don't understand how this can have happened. If they are really serious about getting to the bottom of this problem, surely they would take the time to talk to all the witnesses?"
The strain of the episode appears to be taking its toll on Rafiq. He was rushed to hospital last week after experiencing chest pains and is currently undergoing tests to ascertain the cause of the issue.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo