Top Essex sponsor pulls out following cricketer's allegations of racism against county side

by IANS |

London, Nov 24 (IANS) One of Essex's principal sponsors has suspended its ties with the side in the wake of the racism allegations, which have hit county cricket recently.

Days after Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq recounted the 'institutionally racist' English cricket culture before the parliamentary committee during his nearly decade-long stay at the county side, Essex were in troubled waters after sponsors Seetec cut its with club.

Former medium-pace bowler Jahid Ahmed on Tuesday became the third former Essex County player to allege that he experienced racist abuse while playing for the team. The 35-year-old follows Zoheb Sharif and Maurice Chambers who have made claims of discrimination against the team.

Jahid, who represented Essex in seven first-class matches between 2005 and 2009, described the club as "a white man's world where brown people were outsiders" after allegedly being asked by a teammate if he was "going to bomb" the club.

In an interview with The Cricketer, the bowler alleged that he was bullied by a senior coach and his voice was mocked at by some players and some members of the coaching staff.

"Seetec is listed as one of eight Platinum Club Partners on the Essex website and confirmed to inews.co.uk that it was suspending its ties with the club as a result of the historic and deeply damaging allegations," inews.co.uk said in an exclusive report.

"We have suspended our ties with Essex County Cricket Club with immediate effect," a company spokesman told the website. "Through the services we deliver, our employee owners work with diverse communities to help people realise their life ambitions. This is part of our wider commitment to social inclusion as it is important to us that the communities we serve have equal access to opportunity. Any form of racism should not be tolerated."

Following Azeem Rafiq's allegations against Yorkshire, Yorkshire Tea and Nike pulled out of the sponsorship deals with the county. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended the county from hosting international matches in the wake of Rafiq's deposition.

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