Historic Asian league severs ties with Yorkshire Cricket Board

EXCLUSIVE: Historic Asian league severs ties with the Yorkshire Cricket Board and the ECB due to both governing bodies facing allegations of ‘neglect’ and ‘preferential treatment’

  • Yorkshire’s founding Asian cricket league have cut ties with two key bodies
  • Due to accusations of ‘neglect and preferential treatment’, ties have been cut with the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) and the English and Wales Cricket Board 
  • The Quaid-e-Azam Sunday Cricket League was the first recognised Asian league 

Yorkshire’s founding Asian cricket league has severed ties with the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB) and ECB as both bodies stand accused of ‘neglect and preferential treatment’, Sportsmail can reveal.

The Quaid-e-Azam Sunday cricket league (QASCL) was founded in 1980 – the first Asian league to be recognised by the ECB.

But it is understood that the league has yet to receive a response from the YCB after an AGM meeting in October 2018 in which issues including being locked out of the Yorkshire pyramid structure were raised.

The ECB has been pointed to for ‘abandoning’ the league by instead funding clubs inside the pyramid. The QASCL league has subsequently refused to pay its affiliation fee until action is taken.

‘The teams who play in our league have come about in the last 20-30 years and we’ve always played at the lowest level of the system,’ QASCL cricket league chairman Taj Butt told Sportsmail.

‘Some of these clubs have become quite good and successful and want to play at a higher level which they feel would be more appropriate for them.

The Quaid-e-Azam Sunday league has severed ties with Yorkshire Cricket Board and the ECB

‘But there are examples where clubs have applied to join other leagues in the Yorkshire pyramid structure but despite having the facilities, meeting the criteria, they have not been able to join other leagues because club members from the other leagues don’t want to vote us in.

‘It’s the arrogant nature of the institution (YCB) that they simply ignore us. We’ve been waiting three years for a response and we still haven’t received a response which is why our clubs have been forced to take this action.’

Being locked out of such leagues is an aspect Sportsmail highlighted in September in a special report on Yorkshire’s grassroots segregation problem.

The pyramid structure was introduced by the YCB in 2016, aimed at bringing together the county’s finest clubs. But for clubs outside the pyramid, they are dependent on club members inside the respective pyramid leagues to vote them in.

The distribution of funds by the ECB has also been raised.

Bowling Baptist Cricket Club chairman and captain Shahzaid Yousaf said: ‘These clubs (from the pyramid structure) have enough money to pay players in the first instance so does it make sense that funding goes to them?’

QASCL cricket league chairman Taj Butt spoke to Sportsmail on the decision to cut ties

QASCL cricket league chairman Taj Butt spoke to Sportsmail on the decision to cut ties

‘Bigger clubs in the other leagues pay the exact same affiliation fee as we do, even though many have their own facilities,’ adds Butt.

‘They get a lot more in return as a result of owning their own facilities. There are lots of grants available from the ECB to improve facilities etc. Most of our clubs don’t have their grounds – they hire them from the Saturday teams. So we don’t get any funding from the ECB at all, whereas other clubs do.’

The non-representation of league members in committee meetings despite paying a £70 affiliation fee has also been pointed to.

It comes just two days after ex-Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton admitted that Yorkshire County Cricket Club is ‘institutionally racist’ in a DCMS select committee into racism at Yorkshire. 

An ECB spokesperson said: ‘The ECB makes funding available for all clubs across England and Wales so that they can improve facilities and make cricket more accessible. 

‘We have worked closely with local authorities in Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield to fund 50 non-turf pitches in locations that will enable more people to play cricket.

‘The ECB contributed £750,000 to the redevelopment of Bradford Park Avenue into an elite facility has resulted in large numbers of people using the ground, while we’re committed to funding £500,000 towards an Urban Centre at Parkside Sports Centre in West Bowling in Bradford.’

The YCB did not respond to Sportsmail’s request to comment.

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