Azeem to Tribunal: Hoggard called us Raffa the Kaffir, Elephant washer, P***

On Tuesday, former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq, at the centre of English cricket’s racism scandal, gave disturbing details from his playing days to the Leeds Employment Tribunal. The 30-year-old spinner, while alleging ill-treatment and bias because of his roots, had filed a case against the Yorkshire Cricket club. His emotional outpouring is part of the document published for public record on the UK Parliamentary committees website.

Following are the excerpts from Rafiq’s submission.

“Raffa the Kaffir, Elephant washer and Pigs”

On Matthew Hoggard, former England bowler:

It was Hoggy [Matthew Hoggard] who started calling me “Raffa the Kaffir”. At the time, I honestly didn’t understand that it was a racist slur. My nickname at the club was “Raffa”, which was a shortening of my surname Rafiq, so when he started calling me “Raffa the Kaffir” – I just thought he said it because it rhymed. It was only later I realised what “Kaffir” meant, how it was used, and that it was a racist term.

The comments from Hoggy towards myself and the other Asian players – Adil, Ajmal and Rana – were constant, on a daily basis, and all day, every day. I think he might have thought it was just dressing room banter, but we would come in in the morning and he would say things like “you lot sit over there” and make us all sit together. He would also call us things like “elephant washers” and “P***”.

After I made my disclosure to the media (without naming any names and only referring to the terms that were used), Hoggy called me to apologise for what he had said to me. I thanked him and I respect him for that.

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