Yorkshire chairman appointed after cricket racism scandal to stand down

Kamlesh Patel, who was appointed chairman of Yorkshire in the fallout from a damaging racism scandal, is to step down at the next annual general meeting, the county cricket club announced on Friday.

Patel, a lawmaker in Britain's second parliamentary chamber, the House of Lords, was appointed to his position at Yorkshire in November 2021 during a tumultuous period following Azeem Rafiq's allegations of abuse he received at the English club.

The Pakistan-born former player first raised allegations of racism and bullying in 2020, related to his two spells at Yorkshire.

Last month the 31-year-old told a parliamentary committee that the abuse since he had blown the whistle had driven him and his family out of the country.

Patel staved off a threat by English cricket authorities to withdraw lucrative international matches from Yorkshire's Headingley headquarters in Leeds by introducing a series of governance reforms.

He also oversaw a clear-out of senior staff, including the entire coaching team, after it was alleged that key figures at the club had not done enough to stamp out the abuse.

But the way some employees were let go proved controversial. Yorkshire agreed costly settlement packages after accepting their dismissals were procedurally unfair.

"I have made the difficult decision to step aside at the next AGM (in March) and enable the club to continue on its important journey of change under a new chair," Patel said in a club statement.

He added: "There is still much for the club to do, but I have the strongest faith that Yorkshire will be back at the pinnacle of English cricket for the long term."

Rafiq tweeted his praise for Patel, saying: "So much to say on this but for now - Lord Kamlesh Patel should be thanked for making sure @YorkshireCCC (has) still got the lights on."