Headingley’s England ban should be lifted says Azeem Rafiq

The Yorkshire whistleblower believes that the county has ‘done enough’ and wants the club to host England matches this summer.

Rafiq revealed allegations of institutional racism at the county and forced the issue of racism and discrimination into national spotlight.

The former player shared his story after being summoned to give evidence in front of the DCMS Committee last November.

Since making the allegations, there has been a major clear-out at Yorkshire with departures not only in the boardroom but also the coaching staff.

The club was also suspended from hosting England games - that's despite being allocated a Test Match against New Zealand in June as well as an ODI with South Africa the following month.

A general view of the ground from above after sponsorship signage was removed from Headingley, home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Yorkshire CCC have lost several sponsors over their handling of Azeem Rafiq's racism claims. Picture date: Wednesday November 10, 2021.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Rafiq said: "At first in all this I believed international cricket should be taken away from them. But they have done enough to warrant getting it back, for now at least.

"I want to see England playing at Headingley this summer. I may even pop down to watch myself.

"It has been a whirlwind since I appeared in front of MPs almost two months ago, and what Yorkshire and Lord Patel [new chair at the club] have done to bring change is definitely a step in the right direction.

"If we are asking an institution to look at itself then we should recognise when it begins to show it is genuinely sorry and attempts to start putting things right.

"Yorkshire need to be supported and helped to move in that right direction.

"The last thing I want now are kids in Leeds, Bradford and throughout the county being denied the high-level cricket that could inspire them.

"Rather than help solve the problems in the game, Yorkshire's international suspension could end up adding to them.

"I am not saying everything is now hunky-dory at my old county and we can all move on.

"Yorkshire must be kept under review to make sure this really is the start of something important and meaningful."

READ MORE: Joe Root admits 'England have something to build on' heading into the final Ashes Test