Yorkshire would have gone bust without return of Test cricket to Headingley, reveals Lord Patel



orkshire chair Lord Patel has revealed that the county would have gone bust without hosting Test cricket.

For the first time since Azeem Rafiq made shocking claims last September of racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, engulfing the county in a racism scandal, Test cricket has returned to Headingley as England host New Zealand in the final match of the series.

Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” were charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board last week following an investigation into allegations made by Rafiq, and the handling of those allegations by the club.

Rafiq said he was a step nearer to “closure” after those disrepute charges were brought and called for the disciplinary hearings to be held in public.

Asked if Yorkshire would have gone under without Test cricket returning to Headlingley, Patel told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special: “In simple terms, yes. I think we would have. I don’t think people have realised.


“It was because of that panic situation and (being) caught in the headlights that people didn’t look further that actually, if Test matches or international matches didn’t come back here, we were going to go bankrupt. We literally were.

“What were you going to do – lay off all of the staff, all of the players and try and come back in a couple of years with all of your sponsors gone? That wasn’t realistic.

“But at the same time all of those groups had to be comfortable and reassured that we were going to make seismic changes to get here. It was a real balance.”

Yorkshire, who lost several major sponsors in the wake of the furore, were stripped of hosting lucrative international matches in November until governance changes were enacted.

These changes came in March this year, but Patel said the consequences of losing Test cricket had not “really resonated” with him until its actual return to Headingley on Thursday.

He said: “Until I actually walked in and saw the ground it didn’t register. Being totally honest going back to November this seemed a very distant opportunity.

“It seemed a bit of a pipe dream. When I first came into the job I was determined to make it happen. I thought it would run a lot smoother than it did. It was far, far tougher.”

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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