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Statement on select committee appearance of Azeem Rafiq

Our chief executive comments on the testimony given by the former Yorkshire County cricketer.

16th November 2021

Former Yorkshire County cricketer Azeem Rafiq gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee today.

Following his testimony, our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth has issued the following statement.

It reads: “Azeem Rafiq’s testimony today was devastating and shows why there must be zero tolerance of all forms of discrimination. Racism has no place in sport or society.

“Azeem has shown enormous resilience and bravery in ensuring that the full details of his own treatment and others has been heard.

“The evidence he has given is a wake-up call for the cricket authorities and everyone involved in sport. Urgent and sustained action is required to change our system for the better. There is a long way to go.

“Sport England is committed to doing everything we can to eradicate racism in sport.  The positive impact of the Code for Sports Governance has shown that change is possible.

“In June, we published the findings of an independent review into tackling racism and racial inequality in sport, commissioned alongside UK Sport and the other Sports Councils.

“The findings were stark and included many stories similar to Azeem’s that must not be ignored. We are working to deliver on the resulting action plan we set out.

“Our discussions continue with all the organisations that we fund – including the England and Wales Cricket Board – about how they are taking meaningful action to eradicate racism in their sport. And we hold to account any organisation who are not meeting those requirements.

“Until sport is safe, welcoming and empowering for everyone, the work is not done.”

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