Essex cricket chairman quits after racism allegation

CHELMSFORD, England (AP) — The chairman of English county cricket team Essex has quit following a historic allegation of racist language used by him in 2017, the club said Friday.

John Faragher’s resignation comes amid a racism scandal at another county club, Yorkshire, that has led to a number of executives leaving their roles and English cricket’s governing body starting an investigation.

Faragher stepped down following a board meeting at Essex on Thursday. He is said to have used racist language at a board meeting four years ago.

“Faragher strongly denies the incident,” Essex said, “however the club will review why it was not fully and independently investigated at the time.”

The club said it was considering what other steps it can take.

“We are committed to working with the England & Wales Cricket Board to eradicate discrimination from the game,” Essex chief executive John Stephenson said. “This is an important first step, but the club must now act further.

“Our internal reporting mechanisms will be reviewed to ensure that matters such as this are dealt with appropriately and immediately.”

Yorkshire has been widely criticized for its handling of the scandal involving Azeem Rafiq, a former captain of the team who was the victim of racial harassment and bullying, according to an independent report.

Rafiq, a former England under-19 captain, said in interviews last year that as a Muslim he was made to feel like an “outsider” during his time at Yorkshire from 2008-17 and that he was close to taking his own life.

Yorkshire has settled an employment tribunal case with Rafiq and apologized to him. It previously said it would not be disciplining anyone at the club in relation to the allegations.

Chief executive Mark Arthur and chairman Roger Hutton are among those to have stood down at Yorkshire.

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