Azeem Akhtar quits role as Essex chair for good despite being cleared of racism by independent review

Akhtar became Essex’s first minority-ethnic chair in November, as the club looked to move on from the departure of his predecessor, John Faragher, after claims that he had used racist language in a board meeting (allegations that Faragher denies). However, Akhtar was soon embroiled in controversy himself, after revelations about his social media history in the Jewish Chronicle.

Essex announced an independent review into the matter, one which subsequently concluded that Akhtar’s activity online had been “supportive of the Islamic faith and beliefs as opposed to being anti-Semitic or indicating any other forms of racism”.

Despite the review’s findings, Akhtar, who was elected to the Essex board at last year’s AGM and is customer chief technology officer at BT Global, has now confirmed his resignation from the role.

“These last few weeks have been very difficult for my family and me,” Akhtar said. “This has taken a toll on us and I am determined to do justice to my other professional and personal commitments.

“I am passionately committed to fighting all kinds of discrimination whether that be anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or any other kind of prejudice. As concluded, my social media activity is reflective of my religious and political affiliations and the strong humanitarian stance I take on conflicts around the world.

“ECCC must lead the way with utmost sincerity in being a genuinely diverse and inclusive club. I wish ECCC the very best for the coming season and will continue to support the team as I have done every season since I was a boy.”

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