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HomeEconomyYorkshire chairman Kamlesh Patel targeted by derogatory letters in Azeem Rafiq casteism...
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Yorkshire chairman Kamlesh Patel targeted by derogatory letters in Azeem Rafiq casteism controversy MPNRC

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Yorkshire president Kamlesh Patel said on Thursday he had received “unprecedented racist” letters following allegations of racist abuse and bullying from Azeem Rafiq while playing for the county.

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On the day Test cricket returned to Headingley headquarters in Yorkshire, Patel also revealed that the county would have gone bad but would play for England again at Leeds.

Former Pakistan-born off-spinner Rafiq first made allegations of racism and bullying in September 2020 related to his two spells in Yorkshire.

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Rafiq gave evidence to a parliamentary committee last year, increasing pressure on Yorkshire over their previous failure to take any disciplinary action.

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This eventually led to the mass evacuation of senior boardroom figures and coaching staff.

The England and Wales Cricket Board also threatened to withdraw lucrative international players from Headingley unless changes were made.

The reforms promoted by the new chairman Patel could have been a financial disaster for Yorkshire.

But the issue is far from over, with ECB disciplinary charges leveled against the club and “several individuals” who are yet to be named by the authorities.

Patel was asked on BBC radio whether he had received racist mail on the first day of the third Test between England and New Zealand at Headingley on Thursday.

“Extraordinarily racist,” he replied. “We have a very small but very vocal group of individuals who do not accept that racism happened in this club.

“I think we have to move on from that denial. Racism happens in society. It definitely happened in this club.”

However, Patel added: “Ninety to 95 percent of the members and people I meet on the road and on the train have said thank you for doing what you’re doing and have been extremely helpful.

“We know there is misogyny, discrimination, power imbalance and these things happen. It happened badly here.

“We had to change for the better and I really think we are.”

Asked whether Yorkshire would have been dropped from Test cricket as a punishment, Patel said: “In simple words, yes. I think we will have.

“If Test matches or international matches didn’t come back here, we were going to go bankrupt.”

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