Daily Mail

Rafiq demand could derail hearing


AZEEM RAfIq has threatened not to appear before the ECB’s hearing into accusation­s of racism at Yorkshire next month unless it takes place in public, in a remarkable move that has put the disciplina­ry process on the brink of collapse. Sportsmail has learned that in an applicatio­n made to the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission last week, Rafiq formally requested a public hearing and intimated he would not participat­e if it is held in private, as is the common practice. Rafiq is the key witness in one of the highest-profile disciplina­ry cases in cricket history that has seen misconduct charges brought against seven former Yorkshire players following allegation­s that they used racist or bullying language towards him during his time at headingley.

ECB investigat­ors have spent almost 10 months and hundreds of thousands of pounds on the process, but it is unclear whether they would be able to proceed without Rafiq’s involvemen­t. The decision on whether to make the hearing public rests with the CDC, who operate independen­tly from the ECB, and to do so would be highly unusual. As prosecutor­s, the ECB are likely to push for a closed hearing despite Rafiq’s ultimatum, because much of the evidence has been gathered on the provision that it will take place in private. The ECB and Rafiq declined to comment.

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