ECB’s Azeem Rafiq racism probe has ‘failed everyone’: Matthew Hoggard

Matthew Hoggard says the disciplinary process related to the Azeem Rafiq racism investigation “has failed all of them” after withdrawing their cooperation from the process.

Hoggard, who was part of the England team that won the 2005 Ashes, faces four charges from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Hoggard told BBC Sport: “The process has failed everyone. All parties involved have a problem with the way this process has been handled.

Matthew Hoggard says the investigation process into Azeem Rafiq’s allegations of harassment and racism has “failed everyone” (Sean Dempsey/PA)

“Azeem [Rafiq] have a problem with that, all respondents have, [former Yorkshire chairman] Lord Patel has, Yorkshire has. There has to be a better way.”

The charges Hoggard faces relate to his alleged use of racist language from his time in Yorkshire.

And he insisted that he had made the decision to withdraw from the process because he did not believe it was “fair.”

Hoggard added: “I’m withdrawing because I don’t think it’s a fair process.

“There are no winners in this. It is not an admission of guilt. People who know the truth know the truth. That’s all that matters to me.”

The case is due to be heard in public by a Cricket Disciplinary Commission panel early next month, but Hoggard is the latest to withdraw from the process due to concerns.

Hoggard’s former Yorkshire teammate Andrew Gale, another of the defendants, announced last year that he was unwilling to be involved in the process, which he described as “tainted”.

Rafiq alleged to MPs when he appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee in November 2021 that Hoggard had used the phrase “elephant washer” towards him and abused him “daily…all day, every day.” days”.

Rafiq also alleged that Hoggard made players of Asian descent sit together in the locker room. During his oral statement, Rafiq credited Hoggard with making contact to apologize.

The ECB announced last June that it had charged several people with misconduct and alleged breaches of its anti-discrimination code. Yorkshire was also charged for its handling of the allegations.

Responding to Hoggard’s withdrawal and reports that two other people had also withdrawn, the ECB said: “People have the right to opt out of hearings if they wish, but cases will continue to be heard in their absence.” and we are satisfied that the disciplinary process in this matter has been rigorous and fair.

“The ECB investigation and disciplinary process have been overseen by an independent committee and a leading specialist from King’s Counsel (KC).

“As with any case before the Cricket Disciplinary Commission, defendants are entitled to a fair hearing by an experienced and independent CDC Panel where they can call witnesses, and can also challenge the evidence. in support of the charge, including through cross-examination of ECB witnesses. It is entirely up to the defendants if they decide not to take advantage of this opportunity.

“At the end of the hearing, it is up to the CDC’s independent panel, not the ECB, to determine guilt or not and any sanctions.”

Rafiq said: “For the last two years I have been vindicated time and time again. This has included a legal investigation confirming that I was the victim of racial harassment and bullying; a panel commissioned by Yorkshire which concluded that I suffered discrimination; numerous apologies, both public and private, from people who witnessed or were involved in this behavior; and others have come forward to confirm the culture in the broader game.

“I was grateful to Matthew Hoggard for calling me to apologize shortly after I went public in 2020. However, it is unfortunate that these defendants are unwilling to go to a public hearing and face what happened.”

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