Cricket-Former chairman Graves apologises for racism at Yorkshire

(Reuters) -Former Yorkshire County Cricket Club chairman Colin Graves apologised on Thursday to anyone who suffered racism at the club and for his previous dismissal of racist incidents as banter.

Graves was chairman of the club between 2012-2015, a period in which Yorkshire was accused of failing to address racist and discriminatory language.

“I apologise personally and unreservedly to anyone who experienced any form of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club,” Graves said in a statement.

“I profoundly regret some of the language I used when asked about the events that took place when I was chairman, at a time when I was no longer at the club.”

The apology comes after Yorkshire’s board approved a loan offer on Wednesday from a consortium headed by Graves, which is set to see the former chairman return to the County Championship Division Two cricket club.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement that it would continue to ensure effective oversight of governance across the game.

“There are also significant powers which can be used to hold Yorkshire County Cricket Club to account if it does not continue with the progress and reform we have seen over the last few years,” the ECB added.

Yorkshire were fined 400,000 pounds ($510,640) in 2023 and given a 48-point deduction in the County Championship after an investigation into racism allegations by ex-Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

“If I am confirmed as chairman, the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work that has been carried out over the last two years will continue,” Graves added.

($1 = 0.7833 pounds)

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes and Simon JenningsEditing by Christian Radnedge)