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Lord Kamlesh Patel to step down as chair of Yorkshire County Cricket

Lord Kamlesh Patel joined Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 2021 and has overseen a significant period of change after former player Azeem Rafiq went public with allegations of racism at the club

Lord Patel of Bradford, Chair, Yorkshire County Cricket Club, answering questions via video link in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee at the House of Commons, London, on the subject of racism in cricket. Picture date: Tuesday December 13, 2022.
Image: Lord Kamlesh Patel was appointed chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 2021

Lord Kamlesh Patel will step down as chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club at the next annual general meeting, the club has announced.

Lord Patel was appointed chair of Yorkshire after several members of the board stepped down following allegations of racism against the club by Azeem Rafiq.

In a statement released on Friday, Lord Patel said: "It has been an honour and a privilege to work for such a prestigious organisation. I have made the difficult decision to step aside at the next AGM and enable the club to continue on its important journey of change under a new chair.

"I would like to thank those members who have been hugely supportive of the changes that the board have introduced at Headingley. I would also like to thank the staff and board members who have all worked tirelessly during what has been a transformational period in Yorkshire's history.

"There is still much for the club to do, but I have the strongest faith that Yorkshire will be back at the pinnacle of English cricket for the long term."

Under Lord Patel, Yorkshire has undergone a significant period of change which culminated in international cricket returning to Headingley.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) lifted the suspension in February 2022 after Yorkshire met certain conditions.

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Kamlesh Patel, Baron Patel of Bradford, speaks after being made chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

One of Lord Patel's key policies has been to improve diversity, inclusion and equality within the club.

He introduced Yorkshire's Pathway programme to remove financial barriers that prevent people from diverse communities from playing cricket.

According to the club, the programme has seen a nearly 40 per cent increase in attendees from regional observations and an increase of 60 per cent in cricketers selected from a diverse background at County Age Group, when compared to 2021.

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Azeem Rafiq told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee that the only thing to change in the 13 months since he first gave harrowing evidence of the racism he faced in cricket is that he's been driven out of the country

Girls County Age Group nominations also increased by 60.7 per cent from 2021.

Stephen Vaughan, who is the chief executive of the club, said: "Kamlesh should be extremely proud of what he has achieved at Headingley during his tenure as chair. The structures that have been put in place are vital in ensuring that Yorkshire is a Club that people are proud to be associated with.

"Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity are at the heart of our Club and I am excited to work with the Board, executive team and new Chair to continue on this journey of meaningful change."

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