More embarrassment for Yorkshire: A key members’ vote on club reforms after the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal is cancelled due to a ‘technical issue’… leaving the county’s Test status in limbo for another two weeks
- Yorkshire were banned from holding internationals after Azeem Rafiq scandal
- The ban was lifted in February on the basis key reforms were passed in March
- Now, a members’ vote has been delayed until March 31 – their reforms deadline
Yorkshire’s bid to rubberstamp the return of England matches has hit a stumbling block after a crucial members’ vote was cancelled for a second time because of an administrative blunder.
Headingley was banned from hosting internationals in November following the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal, but that suspension was lifted last month on the proviso that key reforms to the club’s governance were passed by the end of March.
However, Yorkshire have now been forced to postpone the upcoming vote after a ‘technical issue’ meant that notice of Monday’s extraordinary general meeting had not been sent to all members.
Yorkshire’s bid to rubberstamp the return of England matches has hit a stumbling block
Headingley was banned from hosting internationals following the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal
The EGM has now been rearranged for March 31, the day of the ECB’s deadline, meaning the county’s Test status remains in limbo for at least another fortnight and would be in jeopardy again should there be any further delays or if any reforms are voted down.
It is another embarrassing episode for Yorkshire, who had to pull the EGM from its original date of February 2 at the 11th-hour because it ‘had not been properly called under club rules’.
That was after it emerged the club had failed to notify the Financial Conduct Authority of two key rule changes – one allowing members to be contacted by email instead of post, the other allowing a non-member to be appointed to the board.
Former Yorkshire chairman Robin Smith pointed out the oversights to the FCA and said the appointment of new chairman Lord Patel, a non-member, was therefore ‘invalid’, sparking a war of words between the pair.
This latest setback, however, has nothing to do with the simmering feud between Smith and Patel but an error of the new regime’s own making.
In an email sent to members on Tuesday and seen by Sportsmail, Yorkshire secretary Paul Hudson said: ‘I am writing to advise that the EGM originally scheduled for March 14 has been cancelled and rearranged for March 31.
‘It has come to our attention that a technical issue within our historic database systems means that notice of the EGM may not have been sent to all members.’
In the email, Hudson also piled the pressure on members to vote through the reforms to secure the return of international cricket and sponsors, who left in the wake of Rafiq’s allegations.
The first resolution Yorkshire are looking to pass is to ‘end the potential paralysis of the board’ by finally officially ratifying the appointments of Patel as chair and Hudson as chief executive.
If reforms are not passed by the end of March, Headingley will not hosting the England side
Hudson wrote: ‘The resolutions to be voted on at the EGM are the just first step along the way to ensuring the future of Yorkshire Cricket, its financial sustainability and securing the much needed and much overdue financial investment at Headingley.
‘To this end I am pleased to let you know that many of our sponsors who had paused their relationship with us during the crisis last year, are lining up to return together with some completely new sponsors who have approached us.
‘Obviously, from the sponsors’ perspective, their return and the levels of sponsorship are going to be dependent upon the return of international cricket to Headingley.’