Cricketer Azeem Rafiq denies homophobia and anti-semitism allegations: ‘I will not be intimidated’

Azeem Rafiq wears a blue uniform as he plays cricket for Yorkshire

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq refuted allegations of homophobia, anti-semitism and fat-shaming against him, saying the claims are “categorically untrue”. 

Rafiq was accused of making anti-semitic, homophobic and fat-shaming remarks towards children by former teammates and officials, the Daily Mail reported. The ​​ex-spinner allegedly repeatedly referred to a Yorkshire teammate as a “Jew” while playing in the county’s second XI between 2007 and 2012. 

There were also claims Rafiq called an opposition batter a “f****t” in 2009 and forced overweight children to play without shirts during a training session in 2015, referring to them as “fat b******s”.

However, Rafiq responded that the allegations are “categorically untrue” as they are part of a “coordinated campaign of lies” to discredit him as he was previously a whistleblower. 

In 2021, Azeem Rafiq was found to have been the victim of racial harassment and bullying while in Yorkshire by an investigation commissioned by the club.

He later told MPs that English cricket was “institutionally” racist. Rafiq said the scale of the problems within English cricket was “scary” as there had been “denials, briefings, cover-ups, smearing”. 

“I knew as a whistleblower I would come under attack,” Rafiq said in response to the latest allegations. 

He continued: “What I did not expect was a never-ending, coordinated campaign of lies, which has caused serious risk to me and my family’s safety.

“I have been vindicated over and over again, and will not be intimidated by those who seek to silence me.”

Azeem Rafiq has told The Cricketer he intends to move abroad in the coming weeks because he fears for his family’s safety.

It emerged on Monday (10 October) that Rafiq was one of five players to be reprimanded by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) for historical social media posts of a racist nature. 

Rafiq previously apologised and said he was “ashamed” of a Facebook exchange from 2011 containing anti-semitic messages.

After the CDC decision, Rafiq said he fully accepted the post was wrong and apologised to the Jewish community in a statement posted on Twitter

“I hope I have demonstrated over the past 10-11 months that I am trying to educate myself about the horrors and prejudice the Jewish community has historically – and continues – to face,” he wrote.