Colin Graves returns to Yorkshire board ahead of reappointment as chair

Colin Graves is a step closer to resuming his role as Yorkshire’s chair after being approved as a new non-executive director of the club.

Graves’ appointment is expected to be ratified at Yorkshire’s next Annual General Meeting. However, he is in line to be elected as the new chair at the club’s board meeting on Friday morning, after Yorkshire received the approval of the Financial Conduct Authority for relevant changes to the club’s rules.

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

Graves previously chaired Yorkshire from 2012 to 2015, with his original involvement coming in 2002, when as the founder of the Costcutter supermarket chain his bailout saved them from bankruptcy.

His family trust, which is managed by independent trustees, is still owed nearly £15 million by the club, and his refinancing proposal received the support of 88.3% of the valid votes at an Emergency General Meeting last week. He returns to the board alongside fellow members of his consortium, Phillip Hodson, Sanjeev Gandhi and Sanjay Patel.

Graves’ previous tenure covered part of the period for which Yorkshire were fined £400,000 for failing to address the systemic use of racist or discriminatory language, and Graves “personally and unreservedly” apologised to victims of institutional racism at Yorkshire last month.

He was criticised by the ECB last year after dismissing previous allegations of racism as “banter” but the governing body have since described his return as Yorkshire’s “only viable option” and encouraged him to continue the club’s recent work in making cricket a more inclusive sport.

“It is an honour and privilege to be appointed and be back at Yorkshire CCC,” Graves said. “I will 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.

“Equally, 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. There will never be any exceptions.

“I have unreservedly apologised for any, and all mistakes either I or the club has made over the painful and difficult years of the recent past. Lessons have been learned and will continue to be acted on as we move forward and focus on the future of our great club. Yorkshire CCC will become a sporting institution of which everyone can be proud.”

Stephen Vaughan, Yorkshire’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased to welcome Colin to the board at The Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

“I, along with the rest of the board, take our responsibility very seriously. The board are custodians of the club and we are mindful of the responsibility that comes with it.

“We are pleased that members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the rule changes enabling Colin’s appointment to the board, and in doing so protecting the future of Yorkshire, and we look forward to him taking the club forward.

“Colin will be able to draw on significant experience, both as a former ECB chair and as a former chair of the club whose financial assistance was essential in safeguarding the club’s ongoing existence some years ago has continued to support the club in recent times.”

Chathli, Graves’ predecessor, had previously stepped down as chair, alongside fellow board members, Lucy Amos, Kavita Singh, Nolan Hough, Yaseen Mohammed and Trevor Strain.