Yorkshire face ‘financial crisis’ if England ban remains as chairman speaks out

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has warned the club will face a "huge financial crisis" if their ban on hosting England international games next summer is not rescinded.

Headingley had its international status removed by the ECB in November over the club's shambolic handling of racism allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq.

In an explosive hearing, all-rounder Rafiq told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee that he was frequently subjected to discrimination at Yorkshire and labelled English cricket "institutionally racist."

The revelations led to the resignation of then chairman Roger Hutton, who was duly replaced by Lord Patel, whilst director of cricket Martyn Moxon, first XI coach Andrew Gale, and chief executive Mark Arthur are other high profile figures to have left the club.

In order to get the ban reversed, the ECB have asked Yorkshire to meet certain conditions by early spring, warning their status would remain suspended unless the club "clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected," in terms of behaviour, diversity and inclusion.

England's third Test against New Zealand on June 23, and their third one-day international against South Africa on July 24, were originally scheduled to take place at Yorkshire and Lord Patel said he was "very confident" that the club had made the necessary progress to host the games.

However, he warned that if the ban was not overturned "hundreds of thousands of people who love cricket" would be "deprived," and admitted to the BBC "There is no question it would be a huge financial crisis."

"Myself and a number of people here are working 24/7 to meet the criteria we've been set and I'm very confident we will meet it and I hope way beyond that as well," said Lord Patel.

"It was right for the ECB to sanction us and we need to prove to everybody that we're delivering, we're changing and we will get there."

Rafiq, 30, has praised the work of Lord Patel and has himself called for Headingley to regain international accreditation.

The DCMS report into his case is set to be released on Friday and Lord Patel is braced for a harrowing verdict.

"If it wasn't I'd be astonished because what happened here was unforgivable and unacceptable," he said.

"I'm looking forward. I'm very hopeful about where we are now."

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