The board of Yorkshire has unanimously decided to accept an offer from Colin Graves for the club. This brings an end to a day filled with uncertainty and delay, where the board reviewed Graves’ proposal and the local MP encouraged other potential investors to come forward. There were also rumors that club regulations would prevent Graves from returning as chairman.
Unnamed sources reported that the postponement was attributed to the intricacy of the agreement, rather than any discord among the members of the board. Graves has not yet revealed his intentions for the club to the board, but there have been rumors that it may involve transforming it from a club for members to a private company. He is anticipated to do so in the upcoming days. However, his acquisition still needs to be approved by the members. In a statement, Yorkshire stated that they will release “specifics of the proposal as well as the necessary resolutions and rule modifications that need to be approved by members” on Thursday.
Graves, who acted as chairman or executive chairman between 2007 and 2015, is now expected to issue a full apology to victims of racism at Yorkshire, and to those who found offensive his description of dressing-room abuse as “banter”. He will also accept the findings and recommendations of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket last year.
Alex Sobel, the Labour member of parliament representing Leeds North West, which encompasses the Headingley home of Yorkshire, expressed that mere words are insufficient and a concrete plan of action is necessary. Sobel also expressed apprehension about Graves assuming sole ownership of the club and not addressing the issue of racism adequately.
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club has acknowledged the presence of racism within the club, which was brought to light by the courageous testimony of Azeem Rafiq. However, Mr. Graves has dismissed this admission as mere banter. This statement raises concerns about the potential regression of progress made and the need for a sincere commitment to creating an inclusive club for the entire community. I urge anyone who shares the same desire to preserve the club and its progress, and has the ability to assist, to step forward. I am willing to collaborate with those who share my goals in saving Yorkshire cricket.
Yorkshire claims to have thoroughly searched for potential investors, meeting with more than 350 interested parties. The board has utilized a rigorous process to ensure the club remains operational for the sake of its members, creditors, and employees. They currently owe approximately £15m to the Graves Family Trust and require an immediate investment of £4m to avoid financial difficulties.
Converting Yorkshire into a privately owned company would require a significant amount of time, at least several weeks. The transformation would involve obtaining a minimum of 50% of votes from current members, with at least 75% of them in favor. This would then be followed by a second vote, which would confirm the decision and only require a simple majority. This vote would take place between 14 days and one month after the initial vote.
According to the club’s regulations, no individual can hold a position on the board for longer than 12 years and no one can serve as chair for more than six years. Before his appointment as chairman, Graves had been Yorkshire’s chief executive from 2002 to 2007, completing a total of 12 years and seven months on the board and eight years as chair.