Essex chairman Azeem Akhtar steps down for review into his social media

<span>Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA</span>
Photograph: Zac Goodwin/PA

The newly installed chair of Essex County Cricket Club, Azeem Akhtar, has stepped aside after only three days to allow an independent review to be carried out into his historical activity on social media.

The investigation was announced on Thursday, after the publication of an article in the Jewish Chronicle which said he had appeared to endorse tweets that experts believed to be antisemitic.

Akhtar, who was appointed only on Monday, voluntarily stood down with his deputy, Sir Stephen O’Brien, standing in as interim chairman.

In a statement, Essex said: “Essex and Azeem Akhtar are determined to uphold the values of strong leadership, governance and accountability. By initiating this review, Azeem has demonstrated his commitment to those core values.”

Akhtar added: “It is important that I as chair and Essex County Cricket Club more widely hold ourselves to the highest standards of governance and accountability.

“By stepping aside, I want to show leadership and ensure the club can focus on the ongoing challenges it is tackling.

“I am resolutely committed to ensuring that Essex County Cricket Club is an inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds.”

Akhtar’s predecessor as chairman, John Faragher, stepped down last year after claims he had used racially offensive language at an executive board meeting in 2017.