Yorkshire County Cricket Club have confirmed documents relating to allegations of racism against the club were deleted during the tenure of a previous regime.
A Cricket Discipline Commission hearing will start in London next week but no Yorkshire representatives will be present after they admitted to four amended charges brought by the England and Wales Cricket Board over the club’s handling of former player Azeem Rafiq’s allegations.
It has now been confirmed one of the charges relates to the deletion or destruction of both electronic and paper copy documents but while this occurred before current chair Lord Patel took over, the county would not reveal who was responsible for the removal of key information.
“After 5 November 2021, it was discovered that emails and documents, both held electronically by the club and in paper copy, had been irretrievably deleted from both servers and laptops and otherwise destroyed,” a club statement read.
“After a thorough independent investigation it was established that the deletion and destruction of documents date from a time period prior to the appointment of Lord Patel and relate to the allegations of racism and the club’s response to those allegations.
“The club is not prepared to conjecture publicly as to why this occurred, who was responsible or the motivation for doing so.”
Yorkshire have reassured members that no personal data was compromised during the deletion of the documents.
Next week’s disciplinary hearing will start on Wednesday but the only charged individual still set to appear is ex-England captain Michael Vaughan.
Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Richard Pyrah and John Blain have refused to engage with the process.
The Cricket Discipline Commission panel will still hear the charges against those five individuals in their absence.
Gary Ballance, another individual charged, has already admitted using racially discriminatory language and will not appear.
Yorkshire’s statement continued: “The ECB was also informed of the position, which led to a charge being brought on the basis that the conduct (deletion/destruction) may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket and/or which may bring the ECB and/or the game of cricket into disrepute.
“The club has admitted this charge, as there was no viable defence in these circumstances.
“We wished to let members know the position at the earliest opportunity we were able to and to allay concerns about the integrity of members’ data, which the club believes is secure.”