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.