Yorkshire County Cricket Club have announced a new sponsorship deal with Clean Slate Studio, an Indian media firm, who will take over as principal sponsor at Headingley for the 2022 season.
The two-year agreement replaces the previous naming rights deal at Headingley, which had been held by Emerald Publishing until they cut ties with Yorkshire at the height of the club’s racism scandal in November.
The announcement comes days after Yorkshire’s Emergency General Meeting, at which key governance changes were agreed to meet the ECB’s criteria for the return of international cricket to Headingley – starting with the third Test against New Zealand in June.
As part of the new deal, Headingley’s pavilion will be known as the “Clean Slate Pavilion” and the name will appear on club kit of Yorkshire and the Northern Diamonds.
Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire captain whose testimony before parliament was instrumental in forcing through the changes at the club, told Sky Sports News that the sponsor’s name “fitted perfectly” but that the real challenge for the club was still to come.
“It is a clean slate… the name is one thing, but it is everything else from now on that happens that is important,” he said. “There’s a lot of good primary schools around Headingley and a big diverse community.
“I just want them to be able to walk past Headingley and look at Headingley and think this is my club.”
Clean Slate, a female-forward streaming platform due to launch globally in 2023, say their mission is to challenge gender stereotypes in Indian film and want to help make Headingley “a flagbearer for inclusivity and diversity in cricket”.
“This new partnership – with a vibrant Indian brand that knows how to entertain diverse communities – is an exciting step for Yorkshire,” Lord Patel, the club chairman, said.
“Our proud club has a great future, welcoming everyone into our ground and this game, and our new partners are champions of inclusivity, diversity, and equity.”