LONDON – Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq said on Wednesday his revelations about racism in the English game may have opened the floodgates for further victims to come forward.
Rafiq told a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday that he had suffered “inhuman” treatment in his time at Yorkshire and described the sport in England as riddled with racism.
“I do feel now it’s going to be a little bit of floodgates and a lot of victims of abuse are going to come forward and we need to listen to them, hear them, support them and work out a plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he told Sky Sports television.
“I think you’re going to get it (the complaints) into the hundreds and thousands, possibly, and I think it’s the way they handle it. We’ve got here because of Yorkshire’s handling of this.”
The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC), set up a year ago, said on Nov. 9 it had opened a call for evidence from the elite and grassroots game.
ICEC chair Cindy Butts told the BBC on Wednesday that more than 1,000 people had come forward to share their experiences.
Rafiq, the 30-year-old former England Under-19s captain who is of Pakistani descent and played for Yorkshire from 2008-14, said what happened next depended on cricket’s response.
He doubted Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon could continue in their roles at the county if Yorkshire were to move forward.
Yorkshire said last week that Moxon was off work with a stress-related illness, while Gale had been suspended for an alleged anti-Semitic tweet he sent in 2010.
The scandal has shaken English sport, cost Yorkshire sponsors and the right to host England internationals, seen the club’s top brass quit, and embroiled some of the biggest names in English cricket.