Yorkshire apologise to sacked former physiotherapist after reaching out-of-court settlement

The Yorkshire CCC logo, painted on the side of the roller at Headingley Getty Images

Yorkshire have issued a public apology to Wayne Morton, their long-standing physiotherapist, as part of an out-of-court settlement after he was one of 14 people sacked in December 2021 at the height of the club's racism crisis.

Morton, 62, was dismissed from his role as head of sports science and medicine by the club's former chair, Lord Kamlesh Patel, after putting his name to a joint letter criticising Yorkshire's handling of Azeem Rafiq's revelations about club culture, and accusing Rafiq of being on "a one-man mission to bring down the club".

The case of Morton's company, Pavilion Physiotherapy Clinic Limited, was settled by Yorkshire for an undisclosed fee earlier this week, ahead of a scheduled High Court hearing on March 8. This brings closure to a chapter of the club's history that is thought to have cost them close to £3.5 million in legal fees and severance payments.

"The club can confirm that it has agreed a settlement agreement in respect of the ongoing civil claim brought against the club by Pavilion Physiotherapy Clinic Limited ('Pavilion')," Yorkshire said in a statement. "Pavilion has received a sum in damages and its legal costs. The amount is confidential between the parties and will not be disclosed.

"The club apologises to Pavilion, Mr Morton and any other parties that may have suffered distress since and as a result of the termination of the contract with Pavilion by the club. The club acknowledges that Mr Wayne Morton of Pavilion worked with the club for approximately 38 years. The club thanks Mr Morton for his service to the club and wishes him and Pavilion well for the future."

Writing on Facebook in the wake of the settlement, Morton claimed he had been the victim of "horrendous, scurrilous untruths", and thanked Colin Graves, the returning chair whose takeover of Yorkshire was ratified earlier this month, for overseeing the end of the legal stand-off.

"Thankfully, the return of someone with integrity and a genuine love of Yorkshire cricket has seen the end to this monumental waste of money," Morton wrote.

"Sadly, it took over two years and over £400k in legal fees to end this nonsense that should have been sorted within weeks of the ending of my contract and the sacking of the employed staff."

With Graves set to take charge again, Yorkshire have opened nominations for member-nominated directors to join the board, with the club actively seeking to "encourage nominations from members from groups that are currently under-represented at the club or more broadly across the sector". The process is expected to see two candidates nominated for election to the board at the AGM in April.

Yorkshire have also announced the signing of South Africa allrounder Donovan Ferreira as one of their overseas players for 2024. Ferreira, who can bat, bowl and keep wicket, has been capped twice in T20Is and smashed an 18-ball half-century in the recently completed SA20.

"I'm pleased to have secured Donovan for the T20 Blast," Darren Gough, Yorkshire's managing director of cricket, said. "He is an exciting addition to the team, and his all-round abilities and consistent performances in various international franchise leagues are indicators that he has a significant career ahead in cricket.

"We hope he will play a big part in Yorkshire's T20 campaign, and we are looking forward to welcoming him to Headingley."