Cricket-Six ex-Yorkshire players sanctioned for using racist language by disciplinary panel

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - England vs South Africa - First Test - London, Britain - July 9, 2017 England's Gary Ballance walks off dejected after losing his wicket Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - Six former Yorkshire players have been sanctioned for the alleged use of racist and discriminatory language in verdicts released by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) panel on Friday.

Yorkshire and a number of individuals were charged by the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year after an investigation into racism allegations made by Azeem Rafiq, who said in 2021 he had been a victim of institutional racism at the club.

In March, ex-England captain Michael Vaughan was cleared of using racist language towards Rafiq, but a CDC panel upheld charges against former Yorkshire players Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah.

Gary Ballance, who announced his retirement from cricket in April, did not attend the hearing in March as he had already admitted in 2021 to using racist language against former team mate Rafiq.

On Friday, Ballance, Bresnan, Gale and Pyrah received fines as well as suspensions of varying length from coaching and playing cricket, while Blain and Hoggard were only fined.

Additionally, all six players have been recommended to undertake a racism or discrimination education course at their own expense. The players can appeal the decision before June 9.

"The CDC has also confirmed that the sanction hearing for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, which has admitted four breaches ... will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2023," the CDC said.

The racism scandal rocked English cricket and led to numerous changes in coaching and administrative personnel at the club.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Nashik, India; Editing by Toby Davis)

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