Six former Yorkshire players sanctioned by CDC in Azeem Rafiq racism case
The Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) has issued combined fines of £22,000 to six former Yorkshire players found guilty of using racist language in the Azeem Rafiq case. Ex-England batter Gary Ballance admitted charges levied against him as part of Rafiq's claims of institutional discrimination and bullying during his time at Headingley, while former Ashes winners Matthew Hoggard and Tim Bresnan joined Andrew Gale, John Blain and Richard Pyrah in withdrawing from proceedings in protest. In their absence, all five were found to have breached ECB directive 3.3. Former England captain Michael Vaughan was cleared of using racist language and bringing the game into disrepute after opting to defend himself at the hearing in March. None of the six sanctioned on Friday are currently active in professional cricket but have been strongly advised to "undertake an appropriate racism/discrimination education course identified by the ECB" at their own expense. Ballance, who briefly reignited his international career with Zimbabwe before retiring from the sport last month, has been handed a notional six-match suspension, which would only come into effect should he return to English cricket, as well as a £3,000 fine. Bresnan and Hoggard both picked up £4,000 fines, with Bresnan also served with a three-match suspension despite retiring in 2022. Gale, who lost his job as Yorkshire's head coach as a result of the case, has a four-week coaching ban and a £6,000 fine. Former pace bowling coach Pyrah has a two-week coaching ban and a £2,500 fine while Blain has been ordered to pay £2,500. The individuals have until June 9 to lodge an appeal, though whether those who removed themselves from proceedings will do so, or admit liability for the fines, remains to be seen. Former Scotland international Blain, who has launched a GoFundMe appeal to help fund him challenge the verdict, told the PA news agency: "I received legal advice not to participate in this process as it was so irredeemably flawed that I would not receive a fair hearing. This advice has proved depressingly accurate. "I am entirely innocent of these false allegations and have launched a GoFundMe appeal to fund legal action to clear my name and am grateful for the many, many people across the cricketing community and beyond who have helped me reach over £22,000 towards my £100,000 total." The sanction hearing for Yorkshire, who have separately admitted four breaches, will be held on June 27.
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