Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel on Thursday said he had received a bag full of “phenomenally racist” letters and that the club’s staff had been physically abused during the scandal’s toxic fallout in order to devour them.
The head of the crisis-affected county told the BBC Test Match Special on the first day of the Headingley test that there was still “a very small but very vocal group of people who disagree that there was racism at this club”.
He also revealed that he feared that international cricket would not return to land after seeing evidence of what happened there when he skydived as a Yorkshire chair following the failed handling of Azim Rafik’s mistreatment complaints.
“I have a small but solid bag of letters, and if I take them to the police, I think people will be held accountable,” Lord Patel said of the correspondence, which he called “phenomenally racist.”
“We have a very small but very vocal group of people who do not agree that racism has taken place in this club. I think we need to go beyond this denial. Racism happens in society. It certainly happened in this club.
“It’s not about me. We are talking about all the employees who work here tirelessly, who were in the headlights for a year and a half and were subjected to violence for a year and a half – some physical, some verbal. It’s them, their families and players.”
As a result of the scandal, Yorkshire was banned from hosting the current test between England and New Zealand until they implemented controversial reforms, which they finally ratified at the end of March.
“I think we’d be broke”
Lord Patel added: “If you saw all the evidence I saw and where we needed to go, you would put up a bond that we are not going to return this. We worked phenomenally hard, seven days a week, and we had nine weeks to change the environment and get big results.”
He also said the indebted club would have gone bankrupt had the ban not been lifted. “In simple terms, yes. I think we would. I don’t think people understood that.”
As Olx Praca Sport reported, charges were finally announced last week in connection with a scandal that has put Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” on trial.
This set off an extreme attack on the England and Wales Cricket Board on the eve of the Headingley test by four of Lord Patel’s immediate predecessors, who denounced his handling of the case and demanded an independent inquiry.
Among the many allegations made by Colin Graves, Steve Denison, Robin Smith and Roger Hutton was that the club had been tried twice by the ECB.
But Lord Patel said, “Regulators have to do their job. If something is wrong, they must follow the proper procedure to deliver it. Yes, it’s hard. We have removed international games. We have provided evidence that we as a club are fit for this purpose. The remaining allegations date back to 2004. It was a long time ago and a lot has happened.
“I hope that the line will be drawn after we testify, appropriate sanctions will be imposed on us, and we will move forward. There will be many sea views to look at the entire cricket community.”