Yorskire chairman Lord Patel raises Headingley fears as he opens up on storm of racism OCN News

Lord Patel has revealed Yorkshire would have gone bankrupt had they not made changes following the Azeem Rafiq race scandal and been allowed to host games in England

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Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has welcomed the international to a supposedly more inclusive Headingley by revealing he is still receiving ‘phenomenal racist’ letters following the Azeem Rafiq case.

Patel admitted there are still people linked to the club who do not believe there has been racism here despite Rafiq’s testimony at a parliamentary hearing last year.

And yet, had it not been for Patel’s efforts and a new management structure to change the way the club operates, this test match is highly unlikely to happen – which could have seen the cricket club from Yorkshire go to the wall.

“I don’t think people realized,” Patel said. “I think we would have (went bankrupt). It was because of this situation of panic and caught in the headlights that people did not look further that if the test matches or the international matches did not come back here, we were going to go broke.

“We literally were. If you had seen all the evidence I saw of where we were supposed to drive to, you would have put your mortgage on the fact that we weren’t going to get this back.

“We worked phenomenally hard seven days a week and had a nine-week window to change the environment and make a big difference. Ninety to ninety-five percent of the members and people I met said “thank you for what you do” and were extremely supportive.

Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel has revealed he is still receiving ‘phenomenal racist’ letters following the club’s racism scandal


AFP via Getty Images)

“I have a small but substantial bag of letters that if I were to take to the police I think people would be prosecuted. Phenomenal racist letters.

“We have a very small but very vocal group of individuals who do not accept that racism has happened at this club. I think we need to get past that denial.

The ninety percent who were happy to vote for the board-level changes also appear to have voted with their feet as they returned to the field for the test. Fears that the public would stay away did not materialize, with each of the first four days close to a sold-out sale.

Former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq has revealed he suffered racist abuse during his time at the club


PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Yorkshire and seven others, including former England skipper Michael Vaughan, have been accused of bringing the game into disrepute with their hearings scheduled for the autumn.

And Lord Patel’s clue to the amount of evidence he has seen suggests there could be more dark days ahead before the club can finally put a toxic past behind them. For now though, the sight of fans young and old cheering on their England men’s Test team offers brief respite for a club that still have demons to contend with.

“This match seemed a bit of a pipe dream,” Patel added. “When I arrived at work I was determined to get there and walking in this morning it really resonated.”

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