Sacked Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale has been charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board over a historic Twitter post that resurfaced during the club’s racism scandal.
The ECB, which had charged Gale and another six of the crisis county’s current or former players over the scandal in June, filed an additional charge against him after he refused to attend a disciplinary hearing into the case.
Gale, who broke his silence last month to deny “each and every” accusation made against him and brand the ECB’s investigation a “witch hunt”, has now been charged in relation to a tweet he wrote in 2010 that included the words: “Button it y--!”
It resurfaced in November days before the same fate befell Azeem Rafiq, the chief whistle-blower in English cricket’s racism scandal, who it emerged sent anti-Semitic messages to a fellow cricketer in 2011.
A spokesman for Rafiq declined to comment on whether his client, who last year apologised over the exchange, had also now been charged.
Yorkshire had initially suspended Gale pending a disciplinary hearing into his own message, which was sent in reply to the then head of media of Leeds United, Paul Dews.
Gale was sacked following a mass cull of Yorkshire’s entire coaching staff, only for the club to admit in May that unfair dismissal complaints by him and five of his former colleagues were “well founded”.
They now face paying compensation and legal costs that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, having already ended their toxic legal battle with the first of those suing the county for firing her in the wake of the racism scandal.
The club’s ex-captain, who became their head coach in 2016, told Jewish News at the time: “This post is part of a conversational thread between Paul Dews and myself. Paul worked for Leeds United Football Club at the time and I am an avid Huddersfield Town fan. The reference is to a chant that was prevalent at the time in relation to Leeds fans.
“Within a few minutes of the post, Paul called me and explained the meaning of the word and that it was offensive to Jews. I was completely unaware of this meaning and removed the post immediately. You must have been sent a screenshot of the post that someone took at the time and waited 11 years to release. I would never have used the word had I been aware of its offensive meaning and I have never used it since.”
Meanwhile, Richard Thompson, the chairman of Surrey, is set to be announced as the new chairman of the England & Wales Cricket Board, and unveiled in the role next week.
Thompson, who is 54, is set to beat off interim chair Martin Darlow and Alan Dickinson, another current member of the ECB board and a former treasurer of Surrey, to the role. He will fill the void as permanent chair, succeeding Ian Watmore - who resigned last October - after a drawn out process.
Thompson, who will fill the position for a five-year term, was viewed as the preferred candidate of the counties and has previously been a vocal critic of the Hundred. In 2018, he quit the ECB board over concerns about a lack of transparency, declaring that “trust needs to be restored”.