AN anti-racism campaigner has said there is a need for “deep-seated change” to stamp out institutional racism throughout the country.

It comes as former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq recounted his shocking experiences of racial discrimination while at the club, but also throughout the youth system.

Darlington campaigner and founder of the Arthur Wharton Foundation, Shaun Campbell issued an heartfelt response to Mr Rafiq’s allegations heard in Westminster yesterday.

“I find the whole thing absolutely appalling and there is a need for deep-seated change,” Mr Campbell said.

“I am struggling for words because it is so frustrating to see it rear its ugly head in this way.”

Mr Campbell, who was born in Yorkshire, backed up Mr Rafiq’s claim that Asian cricketers are struggling to realise their dreams at a professional level throughout the country due to racial discrimination.

“They cannot break into the game because of these old boys networks within organisations,” Mr Campbell added. “To be subject to such horrendous abuse while still trying to strive through takes so much courage.

“Racism was seen as a problem within football but I’ve always known within cricket that there was an underlying tension. It has always perturbed me and it comes as no shock.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that players we have loved and watched throughout the years in this sport are a part of this. To see the emotion on Azeem’s face was a very hard watch.”

Mr Campbell stated his desire to speak to Roland Butcher, recognised as being the first black cricketer to represent England and patron of the Arthur Warton Foundation, on how the charity will respond to the issues.

He said: “I will be speaking to him to find out what we want to do about this. We have a responsibility as a foundation to comment.

“We have to work across sport and now is a time to call out cricket and how we can tackle the issues.”

Mr Campbell shared his own distressing experience after former Darlington Cricket Club chairman Brian Johnson is alleged to have used the phrase “n***** in the woodpile” during a meeting.

The comment was corroborated by the then local MP Jenny Chapman but Mr Johnson denied the accusation and has yet to apologise, according to Mr Campbell.

The campaigner slammed Durham County Cricket Club for declining to comment on how it deals with complaints of racial abuse.

He said: “I am absolutely appalled that Durham feel that there is no comment to be made at this stage. This is the problem. I am disgusted by it all.”