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Yorkshire accused of trying to pressure Ismail Dawood into denying that he experienced racism

Yorkshire charged with attempts to pressure Ismail Dawood to deny he experienced racism at the club

  • Yorkshire is accused of pressuring Ismail Dawood to deny racism
  • Geoff Cope and ex-chairman Robin Smith are dragged into scandal
  • Notorious accusation that Yorkshire ignored racist behavior for 20 years

Yorkshire is accused of pressuring a British Asian player to cover up historic accusations of racism in one of the disciplinary charges issued by the ECB last week.

Sportsmail has learned that current president Geoff Cope and former chairman Robin Smith have been dragged into the racism scandal, with allegations that the pair pressured former wicketkeeper Ismail Dawood to tell then Bradford MP Terry Rooney that he has never experienced any discrimination at the club had experienced.

Cope and Smith have not been charged by the ECB as the jurisdiction of the Cricket Disciplinary Commission does not extend to administrators.

Yorkshire is accused of trying to pressure Ismail Dawood to cover up accusations of racism

Yorkshire is accused of trying to pressure Ismail Dawood to cover up accusations of racism

One of the key elements of the charge against Yorkshire's reputation relates to the handling of an incident in 2004

One of the key elements of the charge against Yorkshire’s reputation relates to the handling of an incident in 2004

But it’s clear the long-serving Yorkshire couple have been named as protagonists in a widespread accusation that the county ignored racist behavior in Headingley for nearly two decades. Five other individuals are also named in the Yorkshire charge.

One of the key elements of the charge against Yorkshire relates to an incident in 2004, when Labor MP Rooney told the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege that there was “deep-rooted, embedded racism in the Yorkshire County Cricket Club”.

In addition to failing to investigate Rooney’s allegations, the ECB’s investigation has led to claims that Yorkshire orchestrated a deliberate cover-up, accusing Cope and Smith of ordering Dawood to tell the MP his concerns were unfounded.

Dewsbury-born Dawood had then just completed his first season in Yorkshire but failed to establish himself in the first team and left Headingley to play cricket for Cheshire in the small counties 12 months later.

Former chairman Robin Smith (pictured) and current president Geoff Cope are said to have pressured Dawood to say he has never experienced any discrimination at the club

Former chairman Robin Smith (pictured) and current president Geoff Cope are said to have pressured Dawood to say he has never experienced any discrimination at the club

The 45-year-old went on to become a first-class referee, and two years ago, along with fellow umpire John Holder, filed an employment claim against the ECB for alleged ‘institutional racism’, although both cases were later dropped.

Cope was chief executive of Yorkshire at the time, working alongside Smith in his role as chairman, with both men denying there were any issues with racism at the club.

Cope returned to Headingley as president in 2019, and Smith is one of several vice presidents after resigning as chairman two years ago.

Smith tried to block changes to Yorkshire governance made by new chairman Lord Patel earlier this year and has consistently claimed all accusations of racism are false.

“Racism has never been a problem in Yorkshire,” he told Sportsmail in March.

“The club is certainly not institutionally racist. The accusations of racism are unsubstantiated.’

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