Emerald Publishing have become the latest brand to disassociate themselves with Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) following the club’s handling of racism claims made by Azeem Rafiq.
In a statement, Emerald Publishing said: “We have taken the decision to remove our brand association with YCCC and Headingley Stadium.
“We do not tolerate any form of racism or discriminatory behaviour and the damaging effects this has.
“We hope that YCCC will respond with serious action and uphold the values we all expect.”
The news comes after a report by the county cricket club, following claims of racism and discrimination by Azeem Rafiq, compared racially derogatory terms aimed at the bowler with banter.
The report says Rafiq was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” but Yorkshire say they will take no action against any of their employees.
Tim Crow, an industry expert, said on Twitter: “[They are] Yorkshire’s biggest sponsor by a distance. This will be very influential. By the end of the week the rest may have gone too.”
Yorkshire Tea have today decided to end their partnership with immediate effect, despite their sponsorship naturally due to come to an end in the near future.
Yesterday, Arla Foods, who produce Anchor Butter, said on Twitter that “there is never an excuse for racism” and that the company “have no further activity supporting YCCC.”
Following the release of details within the report, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said “heads should roll at Yorkshire” and Julian Knight MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said: “This is one of the most repellent and disturbing episodes in modern cricketing history.”
The committee have summoned Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton to Parliament to answer questions surrounding the report.
Rafiq will also give evidence in person to MPs at the hearing.
Rafiq made 43 allegations from his time at the county side, with the independent investigation upholding seven of them.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yesterday said: “We are conscious at the length of time that Azeem has waited for resolution and the toll that must be taking on his wellbeing and that of his family.
“We will conduct a full regulatory process that is fair to all parties, but also ensure this happens as quickly as possible.”
Emerald Publishing stated their intention to continue a financial commitment to the stadium itself, which also hosts Leeds Rhinos rugby, saying “we believe this supports the aims of diversity and inclusion in sport” but will no longer sponsor YCCC.