Azeem Rafiq addresses David Lloyd’s Sky departure after alleged racist comments

Azeem Rafiq has said he hopes David 'Bumble' Lloyd 's recent departure from his role as a cricket commentator with Sky Sports "had nothing to do with me".

The 74-year-old recently announced that he would be leaving the broadcaster after 22 years, stating that "the time is now right to pass on the microphone".

He added: "With the passing of Bob Willis and after the decision to move on by my good friends David Gower, Ian Botham and more recently, Michael Holding, the commentary box feels a little emptier.

"And so I feel it is time for me to do the same and move on to the next chapter."

In November, Lloyd was named by Rafiq in his appearance at the DCMS committee to discuss his allegations of racism at Yorkshire.

Rafiq told the committee that Lloyd had been "messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like 'the club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don't go in there', 'getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone'".

In response, Lloyd issued a public apology and insisted he was "strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport."

Sky also addressed Rafiq's allegations at the time, saying they would be "investigating the comments attributed to David Lloyd".

Now, in a column for the Daily Mail, Rafiq has said he hopes that Lloyd did not lose his job over the comments.

"I have never wanted this to be a case of punishing individuals for their mistakes while avoiding the bigger picture," Rafiq said.

"I have never wanted to make scapegoats of people while the real guilty parties remain unpunished.

"The minute I stepped out of that DCMS inquiry — where Bumble’s name had come up in questioning — I found messages from him on my phone asking if he could get in touch.

"We spoke that day, I told Bumble how I felt, he accepted he had made a mistake and apologised and we moved on.

"So I really hope his departure from Sky had nothing to do with me because it was not my intention for him to lose his job.

"That is not change. It just looks like a case of someone throwing the book at them to make themselves look good. It’s not fair and it doesn’t sit well with me at all.

"Change is coming and I’m hopeful and encouraged. We need to show a bit of love and compassion now.

"We need to all work together. That is the only way we will create an environment that is genuinely welcoming for everyone."

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