Gulfraz Riaz, the Chairman of the National Asian Cricket Council has voluntarily stepped down from the independent panel convened to investigate allegations made by former player, Azeem Rafiq. Mr Riaz will now assist the investigation as a witness. He remains committed to ensuring the process is open and transparent and is clear that this is the best way for him to serve the investigation at this moment.

The National Asian Cricket Council (NACC) acts as a key advisory body to the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and exists to support and promote the interests of the South Asian Cricketing Community at National and Regional levels, whilst developing positive relationships between key cricketing stakeholders and their immediate cricketing community. They will have a crucial role to play in improving the wider relationship between YCCC and their South Asian Cricketing Community once the investigation has concluded.

Mesba Ahmed, vice-Chairman of the National Asian Cricket Council; and CEO and founder of the London Tigers, an award winning charity focussed on community development through sport, has now joined the investigation panel.

A former member of the Football Association’s Race Equality Advisory Board, Mesba has considerable experience of addressing racism and improving diversity in sport. He founded the London Tigers as “just a football team” in 1986 with the aim of working with young people from diverse backgrounds who otherwise felt excluded from sporting opportunities. The charity now delivers projects across London and the UK, with over 3,000 regular members and over 70 staff members and volunteers and has worked closely with Sport England, professional football clubs, local councils and the F.A’s “Kick it Out” campaign.

Mr Ahmed joins a five person strong panel which includes barrister and employment law specialist Rehana Azib, former Waitrose Personnel Director Helen Hyde, YCCC Senior Independent Director and CFO of Durham University Stephen Willis and panel Chairman, surgeon and MCC Committee member Dr. Samir Pathak.

Commenting on his appointment to the panel, Mesba Ahmed said: “Sport has a crucial role to play in addressing issues of race, diversity and equality in our society. Investigations of this nature are never easy, but they are important if we are to successfully address inequality and provide sporting opportunities across BAME communities. Along with my fellow panel members, I am determined that we deliver a thorough and impartial finding and clear set of recommendations.”

Dr Samir Pathak, Chairman of the investigation panel said: “I would like to thank Gulfraz for his assistance.

“The investigation team have been in regular contact with Mr Rafiq’s legal counsel and understand that he will be in a position to provide a statement to the investigation by the 6 November.

“The process of contacting potential witnesses and agreeing a timetable of interviews is in progress. Both the investigation team and the panel are aware that this is a difficult time for all parties and are determined that the investigation will be concluded before the end of the year.”

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