Yorkshire appeal to be heard on Monday

Source - yorkshirepost.co.uk

Yorkshire have appealed against their expulsion from the Twenty20 Cup, describing their punishment for fielding ineligible teenager Azeem Rafiq as "manifestly disproportionate".

The appeal will be heard by an England and Wales Cricket Board panel at 2.30pm in Taunton on Monday and determine whether Yorkshire Carnegie are handed a lifeline that will rekindle their hopes of reaching the £2.5m Champions League.

Yorkshire were thrown out of the competition on Thursday after a disciplinary hearing in Manchester stated they had known for at least 18 months that there were doubts surrounding Rafiq's immigration status.

The 17-year-old off-spinner appeared in the club's final group match against Nottinghamshire despite not holding a British passport and being ineligible for first team cricket.

Yorkshire were fined £1,000 – a figure the ECB say could rise should Yorkshire lose their appeal – and the points from the match at Trent Bridge awarded to Nottinghamshire, who are set to take Yorkshire's place.

However, Glamorgan, who had a superior record to Nottinghamshire in the group stages, are challenging the ECB's verdict and believe they should proceed to the quarter-finals at Nottinghamshire's expense.

Yorkshire's chief executive Stewart Regan was last night unavailable to explain why Yorkshire have decided to appeal.

However, the Yorkshire Post understands one way the club are likely to contest the disciplinary panel's verdict is to suggest Yorkshire Schools – as opposed to Yorkshire County Cricket Club – were the real recipients of the warning that there were problems surrounding Rafiq.

Yorkshire Schools comes under the remit of the Yorkshire Cricket Board but neither organisation, when contacted by the Yorkshire Post, said they had been made aware of Rafiq's situation by the ECB.

Last night, Yorkshire issued a statement which said simply: "Further to a board meeting of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club this morning, the club have confirmed to the ECB that they will be appealing against the decision to exclude the club from this year's Twenty20 Cup competition.

"The club feel that the punishment is manifestly disproportionate to the offence and, as such, feels duty-bound on behalf of its players, members and staff to lodge an appeal."

Martyn Moxon, the county's director of professional cricket, has expressed his disappointment following the decision to throw Yorkshire out of the competition.

"It's very disappointing and I just feel so sorry for the fans and the players," said Moxon.

"The lads did well to get us so far and this situation is sad for everyone. It will be a big test of the players' character and we need to get our heads around what has happened."

The Cricket Discipline Commission Appeal Panel that will convene on Monday will be chaired by David Gabbitass QC and also consist of Chris Tickle, Alan Wadey, Mike Smith and Cliff Pocock.

The most likely date for a rearranged quarter-final between Durham and Nottinghamshire is July 20, six days before finals day at the Rose Bowl.

The winners of that game will play Middlesex in the second semi-final, with Kent and Essex contesting the first semi-final.

Both finalists will then go on through to the Champions League.
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