Cricket racism whistleblower Azeem Rafiq ‘ashamed’ by historic antisemitic remarks

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Cricket racism whistleblower Azeem Rafiq ‘ashamed’ by historic antisemitic remarks

Days after giving harrowing testimony about racism he suffered, Rafiq apologises after it's revealed he made derogatory remarks about Jews, saying he has 'absolutely no excuse'

Screen grab from Parliament TV of former cricketer Azeem Rafiq crying as he gives evidence at the inquiry into racism he suffered at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee on sport governance at Portcullis House in London. Picture date: Tuesday November 16, 2021.
Screen grab from Parliament TV of former cricketer Azeem Rafiq crying as he gives evidence at the inquiry into racism he suffered at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee on sport governance at Portcullis House in London. Picture date: Tuesday November 16, 2021.

Former Yorkshire cricketer-turned racism whistle-blower Azeem Rafiq has apologised for using antisemitic slurs more than a decade ago.

In a statement posted on social media he said sorry for language used in an exchange with another former player, Ateeq Javid, for which he has “absolutely no excuse for”. In a statement to Jewish News, the England and Wales Cricket Board said it would “investigate accordingly”.

This comes after Rafiq gave harrowing testimony during a digital, culture, media and sport select committee this week, accusing English cricket of being ‘institutionally racist’. He highlighted the frequent use of the p-word by his former team mates, and called his treatment by Yorkshire after his child was stillborn, “inhuman”.

The Times revealed an exchange between Rafiq and the former Warwickshire pro Ateeq Javid, in which he says another colleague is “a Jew” because they were reluctant to spend money. In another comment Rafiq claimed he will “probs go after my 2nds again ha . . . Only Jews do that sort of shit”.

Following the revelation, he posted an apology on social media, saying: “I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today. I have gone back to check my account and it is me – I have absolutely no excuses. I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today. I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this”.

READ MORE: Azeem Rafiq interview: Forgiveness won’t be quick but I’m determined to educate myself  

Earlier this month, Yorkshire’s former captain and current head coach was suspended by the club, after Jewish News revealed he had used the y-word in a social media post.

A spokesperson for the England and Wales Cricket Board said:  “We strongly condemn any form of discrimination. We have procedures in place to address conduct and allegations of this nature and we will investigate accordingly. We want cricket to be an inclusive, welcoming game for everyone.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “Azeem Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket so he will well understand the hurt this exchange will cause to Jews who have supported him.

His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere.”

The Community Security Trust said: “The anti-Jewish slurs used by Azeem Rafiq ten years ago are appalling, and sadly very common. To his credit, Rafiq has apologised fully and without any qualification.

“He has done a great deal of good to expose racism in the sport he loves and we hope he will be open to learning more about anti-Jewish racism as well.”

Warwickshire chairman Mark McCafferty told the PA news agency in a statement: “We are aware of the messages exchanged by Azeem Rafiq and former Warwickshire player Ateeq Javid in 2011.

Ateeq Javid.

“Warwickshire CCC is deeply concerned by comments that have been used in this reported exchange. Whilst Ateeq left Warwickshire in 2017, he still has close connections with the club and within our local community.

“We have already spoken briefly with Ateeq and will have a more detailed conversation to understand the nature of the exchange and how he or anyone else at Warwickshire became involved.

“Warwickshire CCC is determined to reflect the communities that we serve at every level, with Edgbaston being a safe and welcoming place for all. We will not let anything that’s taken place at the club, past or present, detract from this.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: