AZEEM RAFIQ reiterated his claim there is an "institutional problem" at Yorkshire after they accepted there was "no question" their former player was the victim of racial harassment and bullying during his time at the club, writes David Charlesworth.

An independent investigation was commissioned by Yorkshire last September after Rafiq alleged institutional racism during his time at the club, where he had two professional spells between 2008 and 2018, left him feeling suicidal.

Earlier this week, MPs implored Yorkshire to immediately publish the panel's report, thought to be in excess of 100 pages, which the club received last month and on Friday a summary of the findings and recommendations was released, though the county stopped short of declaring institutional racism.

While the club are acting on legal advice in not making the report public, they revealed Rafiq made 43 allegations, with seven upheld by the panel. The rest were not upheld but some of those were because of a lack of evidence.

Yorkshire chair Roger Hutton said: "There is no question that Azeem Rafiq, during his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment.

"He was also subsequently the victim of bullying. On behalf of all at YCCC, I wish to extend my sincere, profound and unreserved apologies to Azeem and to his family."

Insufficient evidence meant the panel was unable to determine whether the club was institutionally racist but Rafiq insisted otherwise as he delivered a withering response to Yorkshire's release and demanded to see a full copy of the report.

Rafiq's spokesperson said: "We note that Yorkshire has confirmed Azeem was the victim of racism and bullying during his two spells at Headingley.

"However, we must highlight the atrocious way this process continues to be handled. Azeem was not given any notice of this morning's statement - he received a copy only a couple of minutes before the media.

"Azeem and his team are not in a position to properly understand the club's conclusions and how they reached them, because Yorkshire has not provided a copy of the report. This is clearly unacceptable and an abuse of process.

"What is clear is that Yorkshire admits racism and bullying has taken place on many occasions, yet won't accept the obvious - that this is an institutional problem."

The report found Rafiq, who spent 16 years at Yorkshire, had not been provided with halal food at matches, something which has now been rectified.

It found there were three instances of racist language being used prior to 2010 which amounted to harassment on the grounds of race, while before 2012 a former coach "regularly used racist language".

Jokes around religion were made which left individuals feeling uncomfortable, the report found, and also a reference was made to Rafiq's weight and fitness which amounted to bullying.

The report also accepted that there was a failure by the club in 2018 to follow up on allegations Rafiq made at that time.

The final allegation to be upheld was that on a number of occasions prior to 2018 the club could have done more to make Muslims feel more welcome within their stadiums and should have dealt better with complaints of racism and anti-social behaviour within those stadiums.

But the report found that all decisions made concerning Rafiq's selection and release were entirely based on cricketing reasons.