Yorkshire would have gone bankrupt if not for Test cricket to return to Headingley, Lord Patel reveals

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Orkshire chairman Lord Patel has revealed the county would have gone bankrupt without hosting the Test cricket.

For the first time since Azeem Rafiq made shocking statements last September about racial harassment and bullying in Yorkshire, engulfing the county in a race scandal, Test cricket has returned to Headingley as England host the New Zealand in the final game of the series.

Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” were charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board last week following an investigation into allegations made by Rafiq and the club’s handling of those allegations.

Rafiq said he was one step closer to “closure” after these discrediting accusations were made and called for the disciplinary hearings to be held in public.

Asked if Yorkshire would have gone bust without Test cricket going to Headlingley, Patel told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special: “Put simply, yes. I think we would have. I don’t think people realized that.

“It was because of this situation of panic and (being) caught in the headlights that people didn’t look any further than actually, if the test matches or the international matches weren’t coming back here, we were going bankrupt. We literally were.

“What were you going to do – fire all the staff, all the players and try to come back in a few years with all your sponsors gone? It was unrealistic.

“But at the same time, all of these groups had to be comfortable and reassured that we were going to make seismic shifts to get here. It was a real balance. »

Yorkshire, which lost several major sponsors in the furor, was barred from hosting lucrative international matches in November until governance changes were enacted.

Those changes came in March this year, but Patel said the aftermath of losing Test cricket hadn’t “really resonated” with him until his actual return to Headingley on Thursday.

He said: “Until I actually walked in and saw the ground, he didn’t check in. To be completely honest, going back to November, it seemed like a very distant opportunity.

“It seemed a bit of a pipe dream. When I started working, I was determined to get there. I thought it would run much smoother than it did. It was much, much more difficult.

Additional PA Sport reporting.


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