Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale suspended over historical tweet

Sport

Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire head coach, has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing into an offensive tweet he posted 11 years ago as the club continues to grapple with its racism scandal.

Gale, 37, replied to a message from Paul Dews, Leeds United’s head of media at the time, in 2010 that included the words “button it yid!”. It resurfaced this week in the public outcry that followed Yorkshire’s handling of Azeem Rafiq’s allegations.

The former club captain, who took over as head coach in 2016, told Jewish News he was “completely unaware” of the offensive nature of the term and deleted the post shortly after sending it but could now face a sanction from his employers.

A statement from Yorkshire on Tuesday evening also disclosed that Martyn Moxon, the director of cricket, is signed off work with a “stress-related illness”. It is understood the 61-year-old is unlikely to give evidence at parliament’s digital, culture, media and sport select committee hearing next week.

After settling his employment claim with the club on Monday, Rafiq called for Moxon and Mark Arthur, the chief executive, to be removed from their positions after they failed to properly escalate his initial claims of racism in 2018.

Both men remain employed by Yorkshire – the club said Moxon will be given “the necessary support” – but are likely to have their positions reviewed in the coming weeks by Kamlesh Patel, who took over as the new chair last Friday after Roger Hutton’s resignation and has since praised Rafiq for his bravery as a whistleblower.

As well as battling to stabilise Yorkshire’s finances after an exodus of sponsors and the possibility of losing the lucrative Headingley Test match next summer, Lord Patel is launching a review of the club’s reporting processes and setting up a whistleblower hotline.

The latter follows a number of recent allegations of racism from other former Yorkshire players, with Patel confirming the hotline will be in operation by the end of the week. “We want anyone who may have suffered issues to come forward,” he said. “These will be considered carefully and with due diligence.”

Yorkshire also confirmed the report into Rafiq’s complaints, completed in September after a 12-month investigation that Patel described as “flawed”, has been shared with Julian Knight MP, chair of the DCMS committee that will meet next Tuesday, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The report includes a number of allegations of racism from Rafiq’s two spells at the club between 2008 and 2018, one of which led to the BBC pulling Radio 5 live’s The Tuffers and Vaughan Cricket Show off air on Monday evening.

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain and now a prominent pundit, is accused of telling a group of four players of Asian heritage “there’s too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” before a game for the club in 2009.

Writing in the Telegraph last week, Vaughan said he “completely and categorically” denies making the comment and did not meet the team investigating Rafiq’s allegations due to concerns over confidentiality.

The BBC last week announced that Vaughan would not be appearing on his usual Monday night slot, with a spokesperson saying this was to “maintain the impartiality of the programme” when discussing the fallout from the Yorkshire crisis.

However, the Tuffers and Vaughan show was shelved completely and replaced by the Good Pace for Radio podcast hosted by England’s Tymal Mills and Mark Wood that looked ahead to Wednesday’s T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi.

One source at the corporation told the Guardian that proceeding with the show would have put co-host Phil Tufnell in a difficult position given his working relationship with Vaughan and the title of the show carrying both their names.

The show was not due to be aired next Monday due to a clash with the England football team’s World Cup qualifier against San Marino.