The Azeem Rafiq Case: How Sports Can Better Tackle Player Discrimination

Cricket ball resting on a bat
Thursday, 25 November 2021 By Seth Roe, Ellie Sergeant

Fans defacing player murals, sexist comments from coaches, racist locker-room remarks: discrimination in sport can, unfortunately, take many forms. The difficult task of reducing and, in a perfect world, eliminating negative discrimination bears to rest, in part, on the shoulders of giants – namely sports organisations and clubs. The unfolding developments between Azeem Rafiq and Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) is an apt example of the importance of tackling potential discrimination issues sooner rather than later and ensuring that, when the public spotlight shines a light on these issues, sports organisations take appropriate steps in addressing allegations and stamping out discrimination.

This article gives an overview of discrimination in sports and considers some of the consequences of not effectively addressing discrimination issues when they arise. The authors make reference to the Rafiq and YCCC case within the context of direct and indirect discrimination and harassment, as well as examine other unfortunate examples of when discrimination and harassment has arisen within the sporting world. It also considers the liability of sports organisations in relation to their players and provides tips on how sports organisations can deal with potential discrimination issues.  Specifically, it looks at:

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Written by

Seth Roe

Seth Roe

Seth Roe is a Partner at Wiggin LLP. Seth has over 10 years of experience helping media and technology businesses with their HR needs.

Ellie Sergeant

Ellie Sergeant

Ellie Sergeant Associate at Wiggin LLP. Ellie joined Wiggin’s Employment Team in 2021 after training at CMS.

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