Yorkshire have apologised to Azeem Rafiq over some of his allegations which sparked an investigation into racism at the club.
In a statement on Thursday, the club acknowledged that the investigation had upheld "several" of Rafiq's allegations and, without specifying which ones, they said he had been "the victim of inappropriate behaviour" for which they apologised. Yorkshire also acknowledged that the investigating panel had found that the club failed to implement its own policies and procedures in relation to the issues described by Rafiq.
"There were many allegations made against the club most of which relate to a period more than ten years ago," Yorkshire's statement said. "Many of the allegations were not upheld and for others there was insufficient evidence for the panel to make a determination.
"It is right, however, to acknowledge from the outset that several of the allegations made by Azeem were upheld and that sadly, historically, Azeem was the victim of inappropriate behaviour. This is clearly unacceptable. We would like to express our profound apologies for this.
"The panel also found that the club failed to implement its policies and procedures in relation to these serious issues."
In addition to investigating Rafiq's specific allegations, the scope of the investigation also considered whether Yorkshire County Cricket Club was institutionally racist.
Rafiq spoke out a year ago about his experiences at Yorkshire and claimed that his reports of racist behaviour were "ignored" by the club. That prompted Yorkshire to launch an investigation into Rafiq's claims and the resulting report was handed to the club last Saturday.
ESPNcricinfo reported on Wednesday that Rafiq had called for the ECB and politicians to intervene amid fears that, rather than publish the report, or even its conclusions and recommendations, Yorkshire planned to state that they had received it and were reflecting on it. At the time, Rafiq had not been sent a copy of the report or been contacted by the authors or the club.
Later the same day, the ECB confirmed it had written to Yorkshire to request a copy of the report "together with a timeline for publication".
As expected, Yorkshire's statement confirmed that the club had received and were considering the report. It also said they would publish as much of the report and its recommendations "as we are able" in coming weeks.
"We acknowledge that it has been a distressing and difficult period for those involved," the statement said. "We are sorry that the process took longer than we had hoped, but it has always been our position that the investigation should be thorough, and so far as possible, not compromised by external factors."
"It is inevitable that there is much to digest and we shall have to take advice on the contents of the report," the club added. "We are mindful that in a process of this nature we have a duty of care to all who participated, and we must not breach that duty. We aim to publish as much of the report and recommendations as we are able, subject to any legal restraints on doing so, in the coming weeks."
The enquiry - which Yorkshire said was independent, but was paid for by the club and carried out by individuals chosen by the club - has none of the power of a judicial review, a fact the club highlighted in their statement. This means that individuals cannot be named without risking the possibility of legal action.
"It is important to note that this is not a judicial process and everyone who participated did so voluntarily," the statement said.
Roger Hutton, who was appointed as the club's chair less than 18 months ago and who is not criticised in the report, said on Thursday: "I would like to acknowledge Azeem's courage in raising these issues, and his participation in the investigation, which I understand must have been very difficult. I would also like to express my sincere apology to him for certain failings by the club, which have been highlighted by the panel.
"He has very obviously experienced some difficult and distressing times during the time since 2008 and the club could, and should, have supported him better.
"Since I joined the board in 2020, it has become obvious to me that both prior to and since, it has continually tried to improve its relationship with diverse communities. It has however not progressed far enough, particularly as we learn to see the world from fresh eyes, and I consider that this report will be a platform for further important changes at YCCC."
Cindy Butts, the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) Chair, praised Rafiq for "the bravery he has shown in speaking up" and said the commission noted "with concern" that several of his allegations had been upheld.
"We await a copy of the report but recognise both the pain and the distress of participating in an investigation into these matters," Butts said. "It is critical that Azeem, and others who gave evidence, receive appropriate support and we are seeking assurances that this is the case.
"The Commission aims to conduct a thorough examination of how ECB-governed cricketing organisations approach complaints of racism and wider discrimination, and will consider the panel's report and its implications. We will be reaching out to Azeem and others to speak to us as part of our work to build the body of evidence needed to promote meaningful and sustainable changes to the game."