Azeem Rafiq says He Continues to Face Racist Abuse
Former cricketer Azeem Rafiq has revealed that he is in regular contact with police after receiving racist abuse and threats following his account of racism within cricket.
In 2021, Rafiq detailed his experience of racist abuse during his time with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
The 31-year-old said “inhuman” treatment from teammates and senior staff members left him feeling suicidal.
He also spoke about his experience at youth level, where he alleged he was forced to drink alcohol as a 15-year-old Muslim.
Rafiq’s account led to him receiving racist threats. He revealed that he continues to receive such messages.
He said: “There have been a few threats sent my way.
“There was an indirect one earlier in the week and there seems to be this feeling that when the sanctions come, some individuals might not take it well and do something silly.
“There are no graphical messages or anything like that, but it only takes one idiot to do something.
“I wasn’t that prepared for the backlash in the way I got it. It was difficult and there have been some challenging times.
“I’ve been in regular touch with the police and speaking to them and just staying on top of it.”
Azeem Rafiq stated that he has received “incredible support” from many people outside cricket, however, the game still faces issues.
He told The Examiner: “Within the game, it’s incredibly worrying.
“It feels like the game is not accepting it has a problem.
“There needs to a lot more scrutiny at grassroots. I don’t think anyone’s putting any energy into that level.
“The first stop for cricket is to accept that things still aren’t good enough.”
While Rafiq said his experiences at Yorkshire were tough for both him and his family, he admitted that the reaction to the scandal was more hurtful.
Former YCCC chairman Roger Hutton told a DCMS select committee that ex-chief executive Mark Arthur tried to quash an investigation into Rafiq’s claims.
Mr Hutton told MPs: “There was a moment when I was asked if we could abandon the investigation.”
Azeem Rafiq added: “The last two years at Yorkshire ended up being such a car crash more because of the reaction than the actual racism.”
His sister Amna Rafiq is a development manager on the Yorkshire Cricket Board. She said
“Clearly cricket has failed.
“It has failed Azeem. It has failed many other people.
“We have simply got to do better. We can’t look the other way anymore.”