Bresnan accused of using racist slur about Rafiq's sister at hearing

Tim Bresnan accused of using racist slur about Azeem Rafiq’s sister on first day of Yorkshire racism hearing, with ECB claiming fellow Ashes hero Matthew Hoggard was discriminatory to Asian players

  • ECB set out their case against Bresnan and Hoggard on first day of hearing
  • Duo charged with bringing the game into disrepute by using racist language
  • Former Yorkshire players deny the allegations and being tried in their absence

Former England bowler Tim Bresnan was on Wednesday accused of calling Azeem Rafiq’s sister a ‘fit P***’ or ‘FP’ as the ECB claimed he and fellow Ashes winner Matthew Hoggard were central to a ‘prevailing atmosphere’ of racism at Yorkshire.

The duo are being tried in their absence at a hearing of the ECB’s cricket discipline commission after withdrawing due to concerns over the fairness of the process. Both deny the allegations.

On the first day of the hearing, the ECB set out their case against Bresnan and Hoggard, two of seven former Yorkshire players charged with bringing the game into disrepute by using racist language. 

Richard Pyrah, Andrew Gale and John Blain have also withdrawn and Gary Ballance has pleaded guilty to calling Rafiq ‘P***’, leaving former England captain Michael Vaughan as the only ex-player to contest the ECB’s charges.

Bresnan was accused of using the derogatory term ‘fit P***’ to describe Rafiq’s sister, Amna, at Headingley on an official media day in April 2014 in the presence of Rafiq. It was alleged he used the same phrase about an Asian woman in the bar of a Birmingham hotel where the Yorkshire team were staying in July 2018. The allegations were denied in his initial response to the charges.

Tim Bresnan has been accused of using a racist comment towards Azeem Rafiq’s sister

ECB claim Matthew Hoggard was central to a ‘prevailing atmosphere’ of racism at Yorkshire

The ECB also claimed Bresnan used the term ‘the brothers’ towards Asian team-mates including Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Pakistan fast bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, before a T20 match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in June 2009. It was also claimed he insulted Asian players by saying things such as, ‘What are the brothers doing for dinner?’ from 2008 to 2014, and in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Bresnan has admitted using the term ‘brothers’ but says he did not intend it in any racial or discriminatory context. He claims the phrase was used in the Yorkshire dressing room, but predominantly by players of an ethnic minority as a ‘term of endearment and friendship’.

Hoggard was alleged by the ECB to have said, ‘You P****s are all the same’, and, ‘You lot sit over there’, when referring to Rafiq and other Asian players in the Yorkshire squad in 2008. The ECB also claimed Hoggard was being discriminatory when he referred to Rafiq as ‘Rafa the Kaffir’ — a South African insult — during the 2008 season.

Hoggard has accepted using the term, but denied it carried a racist meaning. He claimed it was used to denote a person of Muslim faith who did not strictly conform to Islamic teaching.

Hoggard has admitted using the P-word and ‘token black man’ but denies any racist or discriminatory intent.

The ECB’s lead prosecutor, Jane Mulcahy KC, said the use of such words showed evidence of a ‘prevailing atmosphere at Yorkshire County Cricket Club at the relevant time in which this word was commonly used’.

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