EXCLUSIVE: Key sponsor exits Essex as race storm grows after Jahid Ahmed becomes the third former cricketer to allege he experienced racist abuse at the club
- Essex have seen a key sponsor distance themselves from the club
- Training provider Seetec is listed as one of eight Platinum Club Partners
- Jahid Ahmed is third former player to allege he experienced racist abuse
Essex have seen a key sponsor distance themselves from the club after another of the county’s former players came forward with allegations of racist abuse.
Jahid Ahmed, who played for Essex between 2005 and 2009, told The Cricketer he was bullied by a former coach and had his voice mocked by team-mates and members of the coaching staff.
Zoheb Sharif and Maurice Chambers had both previously spoken out about the abuse they received at the county.
Jahid Ahmed is the third former player to allege he experienced racist abuse at Essex
Training provider Seetec is listed as one of eight ‘Platinum Club’ partners on the county’s website. The move will ring alarm bells at Chelmsford, with Essex chiefs having witnessed the commercial fallout of the racism crisis at Yorkshire.
In a statement, Seetec said: ‘We have suspended our ties with Essex County Cricket Club with immediate effect.
‘Through the services we deliver, our employee owners work with diverse communities to help people realise their life ambitions. This is part of our wider commitment to social inclusion as it is important to us that the communities we serve have equal access to opportunity.
‘Any form of racism should not be tolerated.’
Former Essex players Zoheb Sharif (above) and Maurice Chambers have also spoken out
Essex have opened a reporting line for former players and staff who have experienced discrimination and are preparing an independent investigation into historic racism at the club.
In the interview, Ahmed says he concluded that Essex was ‘a white man’s world where brown people were outsiders’ after being asked by a team-mate if he was ‘going to bomb’ the club.
The 35-year-old former fast bowler, who played seven first-class matches during his four-year stint at the club, also claims his voice was mocked and mimicked by both players and coaches and that he felt pressured to attend a team meeting in a pub while he was fasting during Ramadan.
Earlier this month, former batter Sharif said he received racist abuse that included being called ‘bomber’ by his team-mates after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Former Essex chairman John Faragher denied using racist language at a board meeting in 2017
Chambers described how he was allegedly subjected to racist bullying for 10 years at the club, including having bananas thrown at him and frequently being on the receiving end of racist jokes.
In response to Ahmed’s allegations, Essex chief executive John Stephenson said in a statement: ‘I am disheartened to learn of these new historic racial allegations from a former player about several of his ex-team-mates and a previous member of staff.
‘The allegations make difficult reading and they will be treated and investigated with the utmost seriousness.’
John Faragher resigned as Essex chairman on November 11 following a claim he used racist language at a board meeting in 2017, which he strongly denied.