Yorkshire Cricket Scandal – Who Is Azeem Rafiq?

Azeem Rafiq

Former Yorkshire all-rounder Azeem Rafiq (pictured above) – an ‘Englishman’ of Pakistani origin – had reported in 2018 the alleged racist behaviour he had been subjected to by teammates and coaches during his two stints at the club.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club, however, rejected the claims as “banter between friends,” prompting an uproar from the left and the usual suspects. PM Boris Johnson has also been outraged enough to get involved.

A spokesperson for Johnson said, as reported by The Times newspaper, that such language “should not be used in any context,” referring to the claim that Rafiq had often been called ‘Paki’ – a derogatory term for people of Pakistani origin. Perhaps Rafiq ‘forgot’ about being photographed wearing a shirt with the offending word emblazoned across his chest (see the main image above).

Mega-rich sponsors have also jumped on the bandwagon, expressing their outrage on social media and, more damagingly for the YCC, withdrawing financial sponsorship.

Azeem Rafiq, spoke movingly to a select committee of MP’s about the ordeal he suffered, especially of his distress when his son was stillborn during his time at the club. But who is Rafiq? We have been doing a bit of digging. A special thanks must go to ‘Jim’ for digging out the Sheffield Star report.

The following news article appeared in the Sheffield Star newspaper on Thursday, 30th July 2020.

Rotherham Council Under Fire For Refusing Late-night Cafe License

The council has come under fire after its licensing sub-committee rejected a late-night food license application submitted by a Rotherham cafe over concerns that it may contribute to child sexual and criminal exploitation.

An application was received on behalf of Matki Chai Ltd for a premises licence at a container unit in the car park of Pitstop Car Wash on Fitzwilliam Road, Eastwood, to provide hot drinks and snacks on Friday and Saturday nights until 2am, and twice a year for Eid.

The business, owned by former Yorkshire and England under-19s captain Azeem Rafiq, sells traditional Pakistani cuisine and tea in clay pots, and was represented by Mr Rafiq’s business partner, Khurrum Bhatti, at a virtual meeting of the licensing sub-committee on July 10.

The cafe already trades until 11pm, but wanted to extend its opening hours to give members of the Asian community, especially women, a place to eat their evening meal and socialise.

However, concerns were raised at a meeting of the council’s licensing sub-committee, by South Yorkshire Police, Councillor Kathleen Reeder (Valley Ward), and the council’s children and young peoples service and licensing service about increased anti-social behaviour in the area, public nuisance, child sexual exploitation or criminal exploitation, and the area being subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order.

Keeley Ladlow, senior licensing enforcement officer at Rotherham Council told the meeting of the department’s concerns about the license extension, such as anti-social behaviour, and child sexual exploitation in the area.

“Eastwood, and in particular that area of Fitzwilliam Road, has become an area of concern regarding child sexual and criminal exploitation previously.

“There’s also been significant work in intelligence to suggest that there is the offering of young women to men in vehicles to engage in sexual activity, and also prostitution in the area.”

Prior to the meeting, the business owners agreed to three conditions with South Yorkshire Police, which were superseded when the application was submitted. The conditions were that the applicants would install CCTV, persons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult after 6pm, and cannot be on the premises past 11pm, and that staff were to undertake safeguarding children training.

However, the application was refused following a private meeting of councillors Sue Ellis, Christine Beaumont, and John Vjestica of the licensing sub-committee.

Muhbeen Hussain, the leader of British Muslim Youth called the conditions “absurd”, and asked if the whole community would have to pay for the crimes of a few.

Following Mr Hussain’s comments after the meeting, Councillor Sue Ellis, chair of Rotherham Council’s licensing board said: “The committee felt that a late night premises opening until 2am could lead to increased anti-social behaviour and noise nuisance and undermine the work that was being done through the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) within the locality to address these issues.

“The committee was also aware of the vulnerable residents in the area, and the increased risk which could be brought about by a late-night take-away, or drive-in venture.

“The licensing board is fully appreciative of entrepreneurs who are working to improve the local economy and we will continue to balance the positive impact of new businesses with the needs of residents who live in the area.”

The Yorkshire player accused by Azeem Rafiq has since back-tracked, denying that he is ‘racist’, saying that it was only dressing room banter and that they were best friends. Unfortunately for him, his ‘friend’ didn’t agree and has successfully sued the cricket club for a reputed £200,000.

Meanwhile the said white cricketer has been shunned and treated as though he was a mass murderer. Perhaps he shouldn’t have tried to worm his way out of it and just smiled.

The full report in The Star can be viewed here:

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