Yorkshire leader Lord Patel said on Thursday he had received a spate of “phenomenally racist” letters and that club staff had been physically abused to devour them during the scandal’s toxic aftermath.
The head of the crisis-hit county told BBC Test Match Special on the first day of the Headingley test that there is still “a very small but very vocal group of people who do not accept that racism has happened at this club “.
He also revealed he feared international cricket would not return to the ground after seeing evidence of what had taken place there when he parachuted as a Yorkshire chair following the botched handling of Azeem Rafiq’s abuse complaints .
“I have a small but sizeable bag of letters which I believe people would be prosecuted for if I took them to the police,” Lord Patel said of the correspondence, which he described as “phenomenally racist”.
“We have a very small but very vocal group of people who don’t accept that racism happened at this club. I think we need to move beyond this denial. Racism happens in society. It certainly happened at this club.
“It is not about me. It’s about all the employees who work tirelessly here and spent a year and a half in the spotlight and a year and a half were abused – partly physically, partly verbally. It’s them and their families and the players.”
The scandal resulted in Yorkshire being prevented from running the current England-New Zealand Test until they implemented controversial reforms, which they eventually ratified in late March.
“I think we would have gone broke”
Lord Patel added: “If you’d seen all the evidence that I’ve seen and where we had to go you’d put your mortgage on us not getting that back. We worked phenomenally hard seven days a week and had nine weeks to change the environment and make a big difference.”
He also said the indebted club would have gone bust had his ban not been lifted. “In simple terms, yes. I think we would have. I don’t think people noticed.”
Charges over the scandal were finally announced last week, as Telegraph Sport revealed, with Yorkshire and “a number of people” facing action.
This led to an extraordinary attack on the England & Wales Cricket Board on the eve of the Headingley Test by Lord Patel’s immediate four predecessors, who denounced its handling of the matter and called for an independent inquiry.
Colin Graves, Steve Denison, Robin Smith and Roger Hutton all made multiple allegations that the ECB effectively took the club to court twice.
But Lord Patel said: “Regulators have to do their job. If something is wrong, they must follow due process to make it right. yes it is hard International games were taken from us. We have proved that we as a club are suitable for our purposes. The other allegations date back to 2004. That’s a long time and a lot has happened.
“I hope that after we have presented our evidence, we have received appropriate sanctions and we move on, the line is drawn. There will be plenty of naval looks to look at from the entire cricket community.