Cricket sportsbiz

Nike Withdraws Sponsorship Of Yorkshire County Cricket Club Over Abhorrent Handling Of Racism

By Taruka Srivastav | November 5, 2021

Nike has decided to withdraw its sponsorship of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club over its handling of an internal investigation into racism within the club.

Earlier this year in March, Nike had signed a four-year sponsorship deal with YCCC. Last year, Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq had revealed how “institutional racism” had left him contemplating taking his own life. An investigation by an independent panel upheld only seven of his 43 allegations due to “insufficient evidence”, but did find Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying.

Meanwhile, the ECB issued a statement yesterday that :

  • The ECB will therefore hold YCCC to account in relation to their handling of the matter. Given recent events, it is clear there are serious questions regarding the governance and management of YCCC. The club’s failure in relation to actions and responses to their own report represent a significant breach of its obligations to the game.
  • As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB Board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game. It also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.
  • In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County.
  • The ECB Board has asked the ECB Executive to commission a review of Yorkshire CCC’s governance to consider whether the existing arrangements are fit for purpose.
  • That the regulatory processes already underway into the allegations brought by Azeem Rafiq will ultimately be determined by an independent tribunal (The Cricket Disciplinary Committee).
  • Before any regulatory investigation is complete, the Board wishes to take immediate action in relation to Gary Ballance. While Mr Ballance has not been selected to play for England since 2017, he will be suspended indefinitely from selection. This position will be reviewed following the ECB regulatory investigation into his conduct.

Cricket sportsbiz