YORKSHIRE chair Lord Patel of Bradford has outlined the "phenomenally racist" letters he has received since Azeem Rafiq's claims of racial harassment and bullying in his time at the county.

On the day that Test cricket returned to Headingley for the first time since the racism scandal that engulfed the county last September, Lord Patel said Yorkshire would have gone bust but for England playing in Leeds again.

Yorkshire and a number of individuals were charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board last week following an investigation into the racism allegations made by Rafiq, and the handling of those allegations by the club.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Yorkshire County Cricket ClubYorkshire County Cricket Club

Asked if he had received racist letters, Patel told BBC Radio's Test Match Special: "Phenomenally racist. We have a very small but very vocal group of individuals that do not accept that racism happened at this club.

"I think we have to move beyond that denial. Racism happens in society. It certainly happened at this club.

"Ninety to 95 per cent of members and people I meet on the street and on the train have said thank you for doing what you are doing and have been extremely supportive.

"In any space of life I do have a small but substantial bag of letters that, if I was to take to the police, I think people would be prosecuted.

"We know there is misogyny, discrimination, power imbalances and these things happen. It happened here badly.

"There are some people, for whatever reason, and I am not having a go at them. It has impacted and made our lives very difficult.

"The ECB wanted absolute evidence that we had put things in place that we were going to change and move."

Yorkshire, who lost several major sponsors after the furore, were stripped of hosting lucrative international matches in November until governance changes were enacted.

These changes came in March this year, but Patel said the consequences of losing Test cricket had not "really resonated" with him until its actual return to Headingley on Thursday.

Asked if Yorkshire would have gone bust without Test cricket, Patel replied: "In simple terms, yes. I think we would have. I don't think people have realised.

"It was because of that panic situation and (being) caught in the headlights that people didn't look further that actually, if Test matches or international matches didn't come back here, we were going to go bankrupt. We literally were."


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