Former Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale says he will not engage with the England and Wales Cricket Board’s “tainted” disciplinary process related to racism allegations made by Azeem Rafiq.
The ECB announced earlier this month that Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” had been charged with bringing the sport into disrepute following an investigation into Rafiq’s allegations, and how those allegations had been handled by the county.
Gale released a lengthy statement on Wednesday confirming he would not engage with the process, saying: “I refuse to have my life defined by unsubstantiated allegations by an embittered former colleague and by a Yorkshire/ECB witch-hunt.”
Rafiq, who had two spells at the county from 2008-14 and 2016-18, had accused Gale in his evidence to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee of discriminating against him and bullying him over an extended period of time.
Gale was sacked by Yorkshire last year but earlier this month won an unfair dismissal claim. Gale said an Employment Tribunal in October would decide what remedy would be made available to him in relation to that successful claim, as well as considering his additional claim of victimisation.
He criticised the ECB’s handling of the process, saying it had chosen not to interview him in person and that he had not had a single phone call from the governing body.
“I do not share the ECB‘s view that it has conducted a ‘thorough and complex’ investigation,” Gale said.
“There appears to be no corroborative evidence before the ECB from existing YCCC players or former players to back up Azeem’s perception of how he was treated during his two spells with the club.”
He continued: “I have no faith that a fair and just outcome will be the result if I engage in the process.
“It would appear that the ECB needs to find somebody guilty of something in order to substantiate Yorkshire’s undoubted ‘guilty’ plea.”
The 38-year-old added: “I am not willing to engage in a tainted process when the relationship between the club, certain members of the media and Azeem is as close as it is. I have received personal abuse and we have had reason to leave our home on occasions.”
Yorkshire County Cricket Club and a number of individuals have today been charged following an ECB investigation into racism and other allegations at the Club and its handling of those allegations.
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— England and Wales Cricket Board (@ECB_cricket) June 15, 2022
Gale felt the individuals who had been charged had been made “scapegoats”.
The ECB said in announcing the charges that the independent Cricket Discipline Committee would hear the cases in September and October.
Gale, who played for Yorkshire for more than a decade before being appointed first-team coach in 2016, denied all Rafiq’s allegations and described them as “bewildering”.
“Like many sportspeople, Azeem is a complex character,” Gale said.
“He required a lot of management but wasn’t afraid to challenge selection decisions or raise issues he had.
“Azeem was never shy about stating his view. He adopted that approach with a number of captains at the club.
“He seemed to have an issue with colleagues who captained the club but my differences of opinion with him only related to cricket matters and not race or religion.
“His confidence to speak his mind with people in authority make his allegations two years after he left for the second time even more bewildering.”
The ECB declined to comment when contacted by the PA news agency. Rafiq has also been approached.