Daily Mail

Yorkshire ‘lies’ over lost files


YORKSHIRE are accused of lying in response to one of the ECB’s racism charges in an explosive dossier of new evidence obtained by Sportsmail. The accusation­s from several former employees, which are supported by an email from Yorkshire’s own solicitors, will be a source of major embarrassm­ent to the ECB and could have significan­t implicatio­ns for their disciplina­ry case against Michael Vaughan, which resumes today.

Sportsmail revealed on February 23 that one of the four charges Yorkshire have admitted relates to the destructio­n of evidence in the Azeem Rafiq case, which led to the club confirming the story but claiming that ‘the deletion and destructio­n of documents’ pre-dated Lord Patel’s arrival at Headingley.

Patel was appointed Yorkshire chairman on November 5, 2021, but Sportsmail has obtained a damning dossier which strongly indicates the missing evidence was still in the club’s possession months later. It is understood to comprise of electronic files held on a personal laptop as well as three shelves and two boxes of paper documents.

Sportsmail has been told by multiple sources that the club still had all evidence relating to the Rafiq case in March 2022. We have also been told that permanentl­y deleting the electronic files would have been impossible in any case. Our dossier includes:

Testimony from two former Yorkshire staff members, who claim that in March 2022 the hard copies were stored in a locked cabinet outside the office of acting chief executive Paul Hudson.

An email sent by Yorkshire’s solicitors, Howard Kennedy, dated February 10, 2022, stating that the club were content they had the documents in question.

A letter sent to the ECB last week from another former Yorkshire staff member querying whether the electronic files could have been permanentl­y destroyed due to the club’s contract with MTech, who were responsibl­e for backing up all data every night.

Details of a £75,000 upgrade to Yorkshire’s internet servers which took place in 2021 to ensure that no data could be lost.

In their response to our original story, Yorkshire claimed a ‘thorough independen­t investigat­ion establishe­d that the deletion and destructio­n of documents date from a time period prior to the appointmen­t of Lord Patel’, but appeared to have changed their position in a fresh statement last night. While repeating the claim the documents had been destroyed, the second statement did not specify when. ‘Subsequent to the appointmen­t of Lord Patel on November 5, 2021, it is understood that certain documents and emails created prior to his appointmen­t — and relating to the allegation­s of racism and the club’s response to those allegation­s — were unable to be located,’ it read. ‘We engaged independen­t specialist­s to investigat­e and we are informed that their conclusion was that emails and documents, held electronic­ally by the club and in paper copy, had been irretrieva­bly deleted from both servers and laptops and otherwise destroyed.’

The new revelation­s will cause further embarrassm­ent for the ECB, who have relied heavily on Yorkshire’s four guilty pleas in pursuing disciplina­ry action against seven former players, including Vaughan.

The ECB’s lawyer, Jane Mulcahy KC, repeatedly cited Yorkshire’s admissions as evidence of a ‘prevailing atmosphere’ of racism at the club during last week’s proceeding­s, but the credibilit­y of at least one of those pleas is now being openly questioned.

 ?? PA ?? Troubled reign: chairman Lord Patel
PA Troubled reign: chairman Lord Patel

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