Yorkshire AVOID relegation to Division Two but could still be hit with a points deduction

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Yorkshire AVOID relegation to Division Two but could still be hit with a points deduction as the ECB ponders possible sanctions for County’s mishandling of Azeem Rafiq affair

  • Yorkshire will avoid relegation to Division Two as sanction for Azeem Rafiq affair 
  • The ECB are pondering punishments for club’s mishandling of racism scandal 
  • Yorkshire could still be hit by a points deduction across all three formats
  • Elsewhere, Ryan Sidebottom has apologised for saying club should ‘forget’ affair


Yorkshire have avoided relegation to Division Two as punishment for their mishandling of the Azeem Rafiq affair but could still be hit with a points deduction across all three formats, Sportsmail can reveal.

The crisis-hit club will be named in Division One when the County Championship fixtures are belatedly published next week. 

The ECB delayed releasing the domestic fixture list as planned last month to give them more time to consider disciplinary action against Yorkshire, but with their investigation into the club’s handling of Rafiq’s racism complaints not expected to conclude until shortly before the start of the season the threat of immediate relegation has been removed. 

Yorkshire County Cricket Club have avoided relegation to Division Two for their mishandling of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

Yorkshire County Cricket Club have avoided relegation to Division Two for their mishandling of the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

A points deduction remains a real possibility however, and if that sanction is pursued it would apply to the Championship, Royal London Cup and T20 Blast. Suspension for a period from one of the three competitions is another possible sanction, though that is not thought to be realistic. 

The ECB began a new investigation in November after receiving Yorkshire’s report into the racism allegations former player Rafiq made against the club. It will be published in early spring.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire coach Ryan Sidebottom has apologised after saying the club should ‘try and forget’ the scandal. The 43-year-old returned to his old county last week as a temporary coach under new director of cricket Darren Gough. 

The ECB are exploring possible sanctions after Rafiq lifted the lid on racism at the club

The ECB are exploring possible sanctions after Rafiq lifted the lid on racism at the club

Meanwhile, Ryan Sidebottom has apologised for saying the club should 'forget' the scandal

Meanwhile, Ryan Sidebottom has apologised for saying the club should ‘forget’ the scandal

Speaking about the Rafiq affair on Tuesday, he said: ‘It’s been difficult for lots of reasons. Let’s try and forget about it.’ 

Sidebottom’s comments were criticised by Rafiq on Twitter. ‘Let’s definitely not just “forget it”,’ he posted. ‘Learn from it and make things better. Wish it was that easy just to forget it and pretend nothing happened.’

Sidebottom then tweeted: ‘I’m truly sorry for any offence caused. We should never forget, we must learn. I never meant to say forget. My choice of words was wrong. I didn’t mean that the situation should be forgotten about. On the contrary, it must never be forgotten. It was a poor choice of words.’

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