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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
George Flood

David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd apologises to Azeem Rafiq and Asian cricket community after being named in DCMS hearing

Cricket broadcaster David Lloyd has offered an apology to Azeem Rafiq and the wider ‘Asian cricket community’.

Sky Sports pundit and former England all-rounder and coach Lloyd - widely known as ‘Bumble’ - was named by Rafiq during Tuesday’s harrowing and emotional testimony during a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee hearing on the Yorkshire racism scandal that has engulfed cricket.

Rafiq claimed there had been “denials, briefings, cover-ups and smearing” since he revealed in September 2020 that he had been close to committing suicide during his time at Yorkshire due to what he said was “institutional racism” at the county.

The former bowler - whose evidence to the DCMS hearing was protected by parliamentary privilege - criticised Lloyd for talking about his “personal drinking, going out and socialising” as well as making other offensive comments about the wider Asian cricket community during private messages exchanged with another media member last year.

"I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what's happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing," Rafiq said.

"High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like 'the club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don't go in there', 'getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone'.

"And then personally this guy doesn't even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.

(Getty Images)

"That was David Lloyd, he's been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that's what I got sent to me. And I thought, "Gosh, there's some closet racists and we need to do something about it”.”

Lloyd has since responded with an apology to Rafiq and the Asian cricket community, saying he “deeply regrets” sending those messages to an unnamed third party and is sorry for the offence caused.

"In October 2020, I had a private message exchange with a third party involved in cricket, about a number of topics,” Lloyd wrote on Twitter.

"In these messages, I referred to allegations about Azeem Rafiq which I had heard from within the game. I also made some comments about the Asian cricket community.

"I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.

“I am strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport. It is very obvious now that more work needs to be done and I will do everything I can to remove discrimination from the sport I love, and the sport that has been my life for 50 years.”

Sky have confirmed that they will be investigating the comments attributed to Lloyd by Rafiq in Tuesday’s select committee hearing.

They said in a statement: “Sky is committed to actively championing inclusion in cricket - and in all sports - and opposing all forms of discrimination. We will be investigating the comments attributed to David Lloyd in today's select committee hearing."

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