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Yorkshire: Colin Graves elected chairman for second spell

Colin Graves
Colin Graves also served as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board between 2015 and 2020

Colin Graves has been re-elected as chairman of cash-strapped Yorkshire.

The decision was made at a board meeting on Friday, a day after he was controversially appointed as a non-executive director.

Graves' first spell between 2012 and 2015 was during the period for which the club was later fined for failing to address the systemic use of discriminatory or racist language.

The 76-year-old called his return to Headingley "an honour and privilege".

He succeeds the interim chair, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who will remain on the board as a non-executive director, and previous chair Harry Chathli.

Yorkshire's members accepted a loan offer to the debt-ridden club from Graves, who previously served as chairman and helped to save them from financial ruin in 2002.

Speaking on Thursday, Graves said it was his intention to "work tirelessly with the board to resolve the financial position in which the club currently finds itself, and to restore financial stability and sustainability to Yorkshire cricket for generations to come".

"It is my personal pledge to members and to the entire Yorkshire public that, regardless of background, community or ethnicity, all will be welcome in the fully inclusive culture and environment of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club," he said.

"There will never be any exceptions. Lessons have been learned and will continue to be acted on as we move forward and focus on the future of our great club."

Last month, Graves "personally and unreservedly" apologised for the racism scandal.

He had previously denied knowledge of any racist behaviour during his time at the club but was criticised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last year after suggesting some incidents were "banter".

Former Yorkshire player turned whistleblower Azeem Rafiq - who revealed he experienced racism at the county - had called on Yorkshire's sponsors to oppose Graves' return.

A takeover by a consortium led by Graves was approved by Yorkshire members at a general meeting last week.

Speaking to members at that meeting, Chathli said directors would be "discharging our duty of care" if they put the club into administration "just because we didn't like a personality".

Chief executive Stephen Vaughan added that Graves' consortium was the only deal "that will keep the business solvent going forward".

Yorkshire had been seeking fresh investment since losing sponsors over their handling of the racism scandal, while the club also had to agree compensation packages with sacked staff who won claims for unfair dismissal.

The ECB initially withdrew Yorkshire's right to stage lucrative international matches at Headingley and only reinstated it after major governance changes were enacted.

Charity Sporting Equals said Graves' return would "make a mockery" of victims of racism.

But Yorkshire insisted a "rigorous process" by the board had been conducted "to ensure the club stays operational".