Yorkshire racism scandal: Martyn Moxon and Andrew Gale among 16 staff to leave

Martyn Moxon and Andrew Gale
Moxon (left) and Gale (right) were both criticised by Azeem Rafiq when the former Yorkshire player spoke to MPs

Director of cricket Martyn Moxon, head coach Andrew Gale and all members of the coaching staff are among 16 people to have left Yorkshire amid the racism scandal.

A report found former player Azeem Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” at Yorkshire.

Former captain Gale says he will begin a legal fight against the club’s decision to sack him.

“The decision has come as a surprise to me,” he told BBC Sport in a statement.

“The players knew about it before I did and I will be fighting the decision legally.”

Gale had been suspended as part of an investigation into a tweet he sent in 2010.

Moxon had been Yorkshire’s director of cricket since 2007.

“Significant change is required at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and we are committed to taking whatever action is necessary to regain trust,” said Lord Patel, the club’s new chair.

“The decisions announced today were difficult to make, but are in the best interests of the club.

“Without making important changes to how we are run, we cannot move on from the past to become a culture which is progressive and inclusive.”

A Yorkshire statement said a new director of cricket will be appointed “imminently”.

Moxon, a former Yorkshire and England batter, was scheduled to appear before MPs at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee on 16 November but was absent from work because of a “stress-related illness”.

Rafiq, who played for Yorkshire in two spells between 2008 and 2018, told the committee that racist language was “constantly” used during his time at the club and described English cricket as “institutionally racist”.

At the hearing, Rafiq said that the day after his son was still-born in 2017, Moxon “ripped shreds” off him in a manner he had never seen the director of cricket use when addressing anyone else at Yorkshire.

Rafiq detailed his experiences at Yorkshire, which left him close to taking his own life, for the first time in September 2020. After the findings of the report were released a year later, Yorkshire originally said no-one at the club would be disciplined.

Roger Hutton, Yorkshire’s former chairman who resigned in November, said Moxon and former chief executive Mark Arthur “failed to accept the gravity of the situation”. Arthur resigned last month.

The Yorkshire-commissioned investigation was widely criticised after it reportedly found a racist term about Rafiq’s Pakistani heritage was regularly used towards him while at the club and concluded it was “friendly and good-natured banter”.

Gale has spent his entire career at Yorkshire, first as a player after making his debut in 2004, then as captain between 2009 and 2016 before he ended his playing career at the age of 32 in order to take up the head coach role.

Speaking at the DCMS committee hearing, Rafiq said Yorkshire became “toxic” after Gary Ballance took over as captain, shortly after Gale replaced previous coach Jason Gillespie.

Ballance, a former England batter, admitted he was responsible for some of the offensive terms Rafiq was subjected to during his time at Headingley.

Rafiq said Gale’s attitude towards the death of Rafiq’s son was that Rafiq was “making it more than what it is”, and that “hardly anyone” asked after his and his wife’s wellbeing.

Gale was suspended by Yorkshire on 9 November after the Jewish News reported he sent a now-deleted tweet containing an anti-Semitic slur to former Leeds United head of media Paul Dews.

“We want to make Yorkshire County Cricket Club a place for everyone, from all backgrounds,” Patel said.

“To do this, we need to rebuild our culture and instil positive values in everyone associated with Yorkshire. We are determined to learn from the mistakes of the past to become a club which people can trust.”

In response to the way Yorkshire handled Rafiq’s claims, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended them from staging England matches at their Headingley home.

Former Yorkshire academy players Irfan Amjad and Tabassum Bhatti have also shared their experiences of racism at the club.

Thirty-six people contacted Yorkshire’s independent whistleblower hotline – set up to allow any other victims of discrimination at the club to come forward – in its first week of operation.

On Thursday, it was confirmed Yorkshire will undergo an independent review into club governance.

The ECB has published a five-point plan designed to tackle racism and discrimination that includes a “full review of dressing-room culture”.


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