menu
England's Moeen Ali says he is not surprised by the Yorkshire County Cricket Club racism scandal and there are "probably more stories out there", but believes "it will bring changes" to the sport.

A report found former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq was a victim of "racial harassment and bullying" but the club said it would not discipline anyone.

"It's given a lot more people a voice, people who didn't feel they could speak previously and haven't come forward," Moeen said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if more do come out but I think the fact that it's come out is great."

Moeen, who is part of England's T20 World Cup squad, was speaking on the same day Yorkshire's new chair Lord Patel told media that Rafiq should be "praised" for his bravery as a whistleblower.

'It's not banter'

Yorkshire's handling of the issues raised by Rafiq and the subsequent investigations have been widely criticised.

Birmingham-born Moeen, who is of Pakistani heritage and a practising Muslim, said: "Azeem is not doing this for his own personal gain. He wants change and that's what he's pushing for."

The club's investigations began in 2020 after Rafiq claimed "institutional racism" at the club left him close to taking his own life.

After more than a year - and having been asked to do so by MPs - Yorkshire released the findings of an independent report in September, which upheld seven of the 43 allegations made by Rafiq.

However, Yorkshire said no players, coaches or executives would face disciplinary action following the club's own investigation into the report's findings.

On 1 November, ESPN reported that the racist term about Rafiq's Pakistani heritage was regularly used towards him, but the investigation concluded it was "friendly and good-natured banter".

Former England international Gary Ballance has since said he was responsible for some of the racist terms directed at Rafiq, adding he "regrets" his actions towards his "best mate in cricket" and did not "believe or understand that it had caused Rafa distress".

Moeen said: "It's not banter at the end of the day.

"Somebody might take it well and somebody might not. I don't think you should ever use that type of language.

"The environment is really important - when the environment is right, then that type of language doesn't come out."

Yorkshire has been suspended from holding England matches and has lost a large number of sponsors, but Moeen says the scandal can improve the culture at the club.

"Sometimes you need a dip to go forward, that's from Yorkshire's point of view but also as a whole cricket community, he said.

'Players have learned from the Robinson situation'

Moeen says that while he has never felt racially discriminated against in his cricketing career, there is "no room" for racism in the sport and "a lot of players have learned from the Ollie Robinson situation".

England pace bowler Robinson was given an eight-match ban in the summer for historical racist and sexist tweets.

Posts made when Robinson, now 27, was 18 and 19 emerged during his debut on the first day of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's in June.

"It's made people more aware of things they probably weren't aware of before," Moeen said.

"It doesn't look great right now but hopefully in the future it will make a massive impact on this situation now.

"That is what we want and I'm sure that's what Azeem and everybody wants.

"Going forward, we want change and we don't have to go through what we're going through right now again in five years or 10 years time.

"We're a multicultural country where diversity is ripe and that's all we want. It's about accepting and learning as much as we can and not discriminating against anybody."