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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
James Whaling

David 'Bumble' Lloyd issues apology to Azeem Rafiq and says he 'deeply regrets' actions

Former England coach David Lloyd has issued a 'sincere apology' to Azeem Rafiq after accusations made against him at a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Rafiq claimed Lloyd, who played for and coached the national side, had attempted to smear him amid the former Yorkshire spinner's allegations of racism at the club.

"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'.

David Lloyd has issued an apology to Azeem Rafiq (PA)

"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.

"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 now taken to Twitter to issue an apology to Rafiq and 'the Asian cricket community'.

Azeem Rafiq was seen crying as he gave evidence at the DCMS hearing on Tuesday morning (TV)

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

"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 over 50 years."

Sky, who employ Lloyd as a commentator on both international domestic cricket, have launched an investigation into the 74-year-old's comments.

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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