Headingley
Headingley. Image: AP

Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) will be allowed to stage international fixtures at the Headingley in Leeds after the club members voted in favour of governance reforms on Thursday. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) told Yorkshire that changes to its governance must be approved to regain the right to host international matches.

Yorkshire’s right to host international games at the Headingley was suspended in the wake of a racism scandal that involved allegations from former Yorkshire spin bowler Azeem Rafiq last year. The ECB had lifted the ban in February on the condition that the club approved structural changes to the board.

We welcome the outcome of this EGM: Yorkshire chairman Kamlesh Patel

Kamlesh Patel has been formally approved as the chairman of the club after he was appointed in November. Patel’s appointment was made after Roger Hutton resigned from the post in the aftermath of Rafiq’s allegations.

“We welcome the outcome of this EGM and thank the Members for their full and proper consideration, an open exchange of views, and their votes. It is an overwhelming vote for positive change,” Patel said in a statement on Thursday.

Kamlesh Patel, Yorkshire Chairman Kamlesh Patel
Kamlesh Patel (Photo Credit: Twitter)

“This support will help Yorkshire County Cricket Club to be an inclusive and welcoming place and gives us the clarity and certainty we need to keep building this great club,” the statement further added. 

Relieved to see Lord Patel’s reforms backed today: Azeem Rafiq

Rafiq, 31, is of Pakistan descent and led the England U19 team in the 2010 ICC U19 World Cup which had the ranks of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and James Vince in that squad. Rafiq played 39 First-Class matches and 35 List A games for Yorkshire between 2009-2018.

England
Azeem Rafiq[photo: Twitter]
The former Yorkshire player alleged that he was made to feel like an outsider in the club and was subjected to institutional racism.

“Relieved to see Lord Patel’s reforms backed today and that Yorkshire members chose a bright, inclusive future for my club,” Rafiq tweeted on Friday after ECB’s decision. 

“Big opportunity to show the world what can be achieved when you have strong leadership & good people,” he further wrote. 

Headingley last staged the third Test between England and India in August last year. The venue is scheduled to host the third Test between England and New Zealand in June this year.

Also Read: I Am Potentially Unemployable, People Are Scared To Be Connected To Me – Azeem Rafiq On His Fight Against Racism