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Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur resigns in wake of Azeem Rafiq racism case

Mark Arthur resigns as CEO following eight years at Yorkshire; Azeem Rafiq had called on Arthur to quit over the county's handling of his racism allegations; Yorkshire's chair said: "This is an important moment for the club which will be vital in driving the change we urgently need"

The white rose logo for Yorkshire County Cricket Club is pictured outside Headingley, the home of Yorkshire cricket on November 5, 2021.

Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur has resigned with immediate effect.

Arthur's departure comes after Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire player, called on him to quit over the county's handling of his allegations of racism.

In a statement on Thursday, Lord Patel, the new Yorkshire chair, said: "The board at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has accepted the resignation of Mark Arthur as CEO. We thank him for his tenure.

"This is an important moment for the club which is ready to move forward with new leadership, which will be vital in driving the change we urgently need.

"We know there is still much work to be done and more difficult decisions to be made. We need to rebuild the trust of the fans, the cricketing world and the public."

Following his resignation, Arthur said: "I've had eight fantastic years at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, working alongside an outstanding group of people, and together achieving many highlights.

"I would like to thank the members for their support over this period and wish the club all the very best in the years to come".

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Azeem Rafiq
Image: Azeem Rafiq was a victim of "racial harassment and bullying", a report found

Yorkshire have appointed Paul Hudson, their finance director, as acting chief executive while they search for Arthur's replacement.

The club says the recruitment process will begin in "due course".

Rafiq's allegations have rocked Yorkshire, with Lord Patel - who only replaced Roger Hutton as chair following his resignation earlier this month - offering him a public apology this week.

Rafiq thanked Lord Patel for his response, but also then publicly called for Arthur - as well as Martyn Moxon, Yorkshire's director of cricket - to resign.

"They have consistently failed to take responsibility for what happened on their watch and must go," Rafiq said.

"I urge them to do the right thing and resign to make way for those who will do what is needed for the club's future."

While Arthur has now quit, Moxon is currently absent from work with what Yorkshire termed a "stress-related illness".

Arthur is one of six individuals called to give evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday, a session covered by parliamentary privilege that will begin with Rafiq's testimony.

An independent report found Rafiq was the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his two spells at Yorkshire, the first from 2008-2014 and the second from 2016-2018.

Yorkshire accepted the findings of the report but announced no disciplinary action would be taken against any employees.

The county have been widely criticised for its response, while the England and Wales Cricket Board suspended their right to host international and major matches at Headingley and a host of major sponsors cut ties with the club.

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Former Kent and Essex cricketer Junaid Nadir says he suffered racial abuse at times during his career and has praised Azeem Rafiq for giving him the confidence to speak out

Root: Racism at Yorkshire has fractured our game, torn lives apart

Joe Root says the Yorkshire racism scandal has "fractured our game and torn lives apart" and will offer his support to the club in a bid to "make the sport I love better for everyone".

In a statement addressing the matter, Root said: "In my capacity as England captain and as a senior player at Yorkshire, I feel compelled to address the current situation that has consumed the sport and YCCC.

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Former England batsman Rob Key says Yorkshire County Cricket Club have dealt with the Azeem Rafiq racism case 'terribly'

"I just want the sport to be a place where everyone is enjoying it for the beautiful game it is and feels equal and safe.

"It hurts knowing this has happened at YCCC so close to home. It's my club that I care passionately about. I've spent a lot of time reflecting. There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable.

"These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. We must now recover and come back together as fans, players, media and those who work within cricket. We have an opportunity to make the sport I love better for everyone."

Root, who came through the Yorkshire age-groups and academy, said he wanted to "see change and actions" from the county.

The England Test captain told reporters he had never personally heard any racism at the club and will reach out to Lord Patel at "some point in the future".

Hours after Root released his statement, Rafiq wrote on Twitter: "Disappointed is not even the feeling. Incredibly hurt.

"But uncomfortable truths are hard to accept it seems."

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