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Regan will fight on after losing apeal

Yorkshire chief executive Stuart Regan today vowed to continue in his role at Headingley Carnegie, insisting he would not resign in the wake of the county's expulsion from this season's Twenty20 Cup.

Regan promised to "lead this club forward" after Yorkshire failed to avert their premature exit from the lucrative limited-overs competition at an appeal hearing in Taunton yesterday.

The Tykes argued that their expulsion from the Twenty20 Cup for fielding an ineligible player a punishment imposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board last week was "manifestly disproportionate", but their elimination was confirmed by the ECB's decision to deduct Yorkshire two points yesterday.

Martyn Moxon's team were stripped of the points gained from their nine-wicket victory over Nottinghamshire Outlaws on June 27 due to the inclusion of 17-year-old Azeem Rafiq in their team at Trent Bridge.

Rafiq does not hold a UK passport and had not been registered to play in Yorkshire's first team due to what Regan described as a "clerical error".

The ECB reversed last week's decision to expel Yorkshire but the two-point deduction had the same effect, denying the Tykes a last-eight place.

The controversy has raised calls for Regan to resign from his position, but Yorkshire's chief executive said the club had "drawn a line" under the matter after holding their own internal investigation.

Regan said: "We're all disappointed, and both Martyn and Darren (Gough) are extremely upset about the ECB's decision.

"At the end of the day, the club were found to have been careless in checking Azeem's registration details, and that's an expensive mistake.

"We've held an investigation and put procedures in place to make sure this doesn't happen again, and we're drawing a line under it.

"It's easy at times like this to look for scapegoats and try to find someone to blame, and while I'll accept that there was wrongdoing on the part of the club, this was a clerical error by a junior member of staff which has been dealt with.

"I won't be going anywhere and I'll be leading the club forward from here."

Yorkshire were fined 1000 after being thrown out of the Twenty20 Cup last week, and their financial punishment was increased to 2000 by the ECB at yesterday's appeal hearing.

But having deducted two points from Yorkshire, the ECB unexpectedly announced that the result of their nine-wicket victory over Notts would stand, preventing the Outlaws from progressing from North Division and competing in the quarter-finals.

Glamorgan have advanced instead as one of the two highest ranked third-placed teams, a position which Yorkshire occupied before yesterday's ruling. The club had initially finished three points and two positions behind North Division winners Durham.

A statement released by the ECB, who accepted that Yorkshire had not deliberately broken rules on player registrations, read: "Given the serious breach of the regulations the panel find it appropriate to deduct the two points received by Yorkshire in the match against Nottinghamshire though the result will stand.

"In the exceptional circumstances of this case the panel received and considered submissions from Durham, Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan as to the consequences of any such decision."

The dispute over Rafiq's registration has left doubt over the spinner's future in English cricket, but Yorkshire were hoping to resolve the matter by persuading the ECB to grant him special dispensation to continue representing the county at a board meeting today.

Yorkshire made the request on the grounds that Rafiq will be unable to apply for British citizenship until he reaches his 18th birthday in February of next year, potentially delaying the development of a player who has already captained England at under-15 and under-16 level.

Regan said: "The person I feel most sorry for is Azeem. This has turned into a media frenzy around a young man who has done nothing wrong. We've asked the ECB to provide special dispensation to ensure that he is allowed to play cricket for us."

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