The ECB’s Azeem Rafiq racism investigation failed ‘everyone’ – Matthew Hoggard

Matthew Hoggard says the disciplinary process surrounding Azeem Rafiq’s racism investigation has failed “everyone” after he withdrew his cooperation from the process.

Hoggard, who was part of England’s 2005 Ashes-winning team, faces four charges from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Hoggard told BBC Sport: “The process has failed everyone. All parties involved have a problem with the way this process was handled.

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Matthew Hoggard says the investigation process into Azeem Rafiq’s racism and bullying allegations failed “everyone” (Sean Dempsey/PA)

“Azeem [Rafiq] he has a problem with it, all the respondents have, [former Yorkshire chairman] Lord Patel has, Yorkshire has. There has to be a better way.”

The charges Hoggard faces relate to his alleged use of racist language from his time at Yorkshire.

And he insisted that he had taken the decision to withdraw from the process because he did not believe it was “fair”.

Hoggard added: “I’m pulling out because I don’t think it’s a fair process.

“There are no winners. It is not an admission of guilt. The people who know the truth, they know the truth. That’s all that matters to me.”

The case is due to be heard publicly by a Cricket Disciplinary Commission panel at the start of next month but Hoggard is the latest to withdraw from the process due to concerns.

Hoggard’s former colleague from Yorkshire, Andrew Gale, another of those charged, announced last year that he was not prepared to face the process, which he described as “tainted”.

Rafiq alleged to MPs when he appeared before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in November 2021 that Hoggard used the phrase “washer elephant” towards him, and abused it “on daily basis…all day, every day”.

Rafiq also alleged that Hoggard made players of Asian heritage sit together in the dressing room. During his oral evidence, Rafiq credited Hoggard with reaching out to apologize.

The ECB announced last June that it had charged several individuals with inappropriate behavior and alleged breaches of its anti-discrimination code. Yorkshire were also blamed for their handling of the allegations.

Responding to Hoggard’s withdrawal, and reports that two others had also withdrawn, the ECB said: “Individuals are entitled to choose not to take part in the hearings if they wish, but the cases will still be heard in their absence and we are happy with that. the disciplinary process in this case was strict and fair.

“The ECB’s investigative and disciplinary process is overseen by an independent and specialist committee led by the King’s Counsel (KC).

“As with any case before the Cricket Disciplinary Commission, defendants are entitled to a fair hearing by an independent and experienced CDC Panel where they can call witnesses, and can also challenge the supporting evidence the charge, including through cross-examination of. the ECB witnesses. It is entirely up to the defendants if they choose not to take advantage of this opportunity.

“At the end of the hearing it is up to the independent CDC Panel, not the ECB, to determine guilt or otherwise and any sanction.”

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