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LONDON: England captain Joe Root said the racism scandal engulfing his club Yorkshire has fractured the sport and has called for change and action to make cricket better.

In a statement published on Twitter, Root spoke for the first time about the crisis at Yorkshire which was sparked by allegations of racism by former player Azeem Rafiq.

Yorkshire have been suspended from hosting international cricket and several sponsors have walked away.

"It's my club and I care passionately about it," Root said. "I've spent a lot of time reflecting. There is no debate about racism, no one side or the other. It is simply intolerable.

New Yorkshire chairman praises Rafiq for speaking out on racism

"These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. I want to see change and actions that will see Yorkshire County Cricket Club rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county."

Rafiq said he was subjected to racism at Yorkshire while he was playing there between 2008 and 2018 but an inquiry found the conduct did not warrant any "disciplinary action".

He said he was made to feel like an outsider at Yorkshire and that he had even contemplated suicide.

New Yorkshire Cricket Club chairman Kamlesh Patel, who replaced former chairman Roger Hutton following his resignation last week, praised 30-year-old Rafiq for speaking and has promised "seismic change" at the club.

Speaking to reporters in a conference call later Root said the most important thing was for cricket to move forward as a sport, but added racism was deeper than just cricket.

Racism fight 'bigger than careers, trophies', says Morgan

"I think we need to address what's happened and find ways of educating more," he said.

Sheffield-born Root was also asked whether he was considering his position with Yorkshire.

"It affects me deeply that this has happened at a club I'm so close to and means so much for me to go and play for," the 30-year-old, who will lead England's bid to reclaim the Ashes Down Under next month, said.

"In terms of my position. If you're not at the club how can you make any change? How can you help move things forward."

Root, who has been at Yorkshire since 2007, said he had never personally heard any racism at the club and also said he was planning to meet Patel at "some point in the future".

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