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BBC DROPS Michael Vaughan from Ashes coverage


The BBC has dumped Michael Vaughan from its Ashes coverage after he was accused of making a racist remark over a decade ago.

The corporation gave the former England captain the boot for ‘editorial reasons’ in a statement today – just weeks after being kicked off his BBC Radio 5 Live.

A spokesman said bosses ‘do not believe it would be appropriate’ for the cricketing legend to cover the sport ‘at the moment’.

Vaughan was accused of telling four players of Asian heritage ‘there are too many of you lot. We need to do something about it’ during a 2009 county match.

Former teammate turned whistleblower Azeem Rafiq resurfaced the comment this year and was backed by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

But the final player in the group – Ajmal Shahzad – said he did not remember the comments and Vaughan has categorically denied the allegations.

The corporation gave the former England captain (pictured on Thursday) the boot for 'editorial reasons' in a statement today - just weeks after being kicked off his BBC Radio 5 Live

The corporation gave the former England captain (pictured on Thursday) the boot for ‘editorial reasons’ in a statement today – just weeks after being kicked off his BBC Radio 5 Live

Former teammate turned whistleblower Azeem Rafiq resurfaced the comment this year and was backed by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan

Former teammate turned whistleblower Azeem Rafiq resurfaced the comment this year and was backed by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan

Despite this, the BBC has still unceremoniously dumped him from his role on Test Match Special after joining in 2009.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘While he is involved in a significant story in cricket, for editorial reasons we do not believe that it would be appropriate for Michael Vaughan to have a role in our Ashes team or wider coverage of the sport at the moment.

‘We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest.’

Vaughan allegedly made the comment ahead of the 2009 T20 match between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

Footage shows Vaughan shaking hands with the four Yorkshire team-mates – Rashid, Rafiq, Naved-ul-Hasan, and Shahzad, with them all laughing.

Rafiq claimed Vaughan said: ‘There are too many of you lot. We need to do something about it.’

Rashid and Naved-ul-Hasan said they backed the claim but former seamer Ajmal Shahzad said he did not hear the exchange at which he was present.

Vaughan said: ‘I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the ‘you lot’ comment simply never happened.

‘It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players.

‘I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made.’

The match the comments were said to have been made at were today revealed to be a T20 match against Nottinghamshire (pictured)

The match the comments were said to have been made at were today revealed to be a T20 match against Nottinghamshire (pictured)

Pictured: Footage resurfaced which shows cricketer Michael Vaughan shaking the hands of four Asian players ahead of the match where he is accused of making racist comments to them

Pictured: Footage resurfaced which shows cricketer Michael Vaughan shaking the hands of four Asian players ahead of the match where he is accused of making racist comments to them

Vaughan was earlier this month stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show after saying he was named in a report into Yorkshire CCC’s treatment of Rafiq.

But he is still set to commentate on the Ashes this winter after receiving the backing of Australian rights-holders Fox Sports, who will provide the audio to BT Sport.

The 47-year-old has a long-term contract with Fox, who even paid him last winter despite border restrictions preventing him from travelling to Australia.

The latest in the Yorkshire racism row comes as a commission looking at racism in cricket said it was ‘inundated’ with more than 2,000 responses in a fortnight.

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC), set up by the ECB in March, opened an anonymous online survey on November 9.

It asked for people’s views on the culture of the game and its chair, Cindy Butts, said there had already been a huge response.

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq (pictured) fought back tears as MPs heard bombshell allegations of institutional racism at the heart of the English game last week

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq (pictured) fought back tears as MPs heard bombshell allegations of institutional racism at the heart of the English game last week

Rafiq of Yorkshire bowls during the NatWest T20 Blast Semi Final against Durham at Edgbaston in 2016

Rafiq of Yorkshire bowls during the NatWest T20 Blast Semi Final against Durham at Edgbaston in 2016

Yorkshire Cricket Club scandal timeline

2008-2018: Azeem Rafiq spends 10 years at Yorkshire CCC, becoming their youngest-ever captain and first of Asian origin in 2012.

September 2020: Yorkshire launch investigation as Rafiq reveals that ‘deep-rooted’ racism at the club left him ‘close to committing suicide’. ‘I would regularly come home from training and cry all day,’ he said. Accusations included people saying there was ‘too many of you lot’ referring to Rafiq and Asian team-mates.

December 2020: Rafiq files legal claim against the county, claiming he suffered ‘direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club’.

June 2021: Report is delayed and Rafiq’s lawyer says the pushbacks ‘create a lack of faith in the entire process’. Employment tribunal is held but parties fail to resolve the dispute.

August 2021: Yorkshire issue ‘profound apologies’ to Rafiq as report finds he was ‘the victim of inappropriate behaviour’. But they do not accept the claim of institutional racism – Rafiq accuses the county of ‘fudging’ his claims and promised he was ‘not going away’.

September 2021: ECB are ‘very concerned’ with the summary of the panel’s findings, with Yorkshire admitting Rafiq was the victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’. 

But just seven of the 43 allegations made are upheld, with Yorkshire saying they do not intend to publish a full report.

October 2021: Yorkshire say they will not take disciplinary action against any of its employees following the report. Rafiq writes on Twitter that the club is ’embarrassing’, saying it gives a ‘green light’ to racism.

Last week: Details of the report are published by ESPNcricinfo, including a senior player’s admission that he repeatedly used the word ‘P***’ in reference to Rafiq, which was deemed ‘banter’. Health secretary Sajid Javid said ‘heads should roll’, with the Prime Minister asking the ECB to investigate. 

Last week: MailOnline reveals the player was Rafiq’s former Yorkshire team-mate, England batsman Gary Ballance. Sponsors Anchor Butter, Yorkshire Tea and Emerald all cut ties with the club.

She said: ‘Since launching part one of our call for evidence we have been inundated with responses.

‘More than 2,000 people across the country have come forward to share their experiences both through the survey and also by directly reaching out to the ICEC. We anticipate that more and more people will come forward.

‘We continue to urge anyone who has experienced discrimination whether that be sexism, elitism or racism, to respond to our call for evidence so we can examine the state of equity in cricket.’

The Daily Mail reported that allegations of racism had been made to the ICEC in relation to all 18 first-class counties.

The Commission will produce a report next year based on the evidence it receives.

Butts told the BBC earlier this month: ‘We will say what we need to say and not shy away from really putting a mirror up to cricket and saying ‘this is what you look like’. We will follow the evidence wherever it takes us.’

Jahid Ahmed has become the latest former Essex player to allege he was the subject of racist abuse while playing for the club.

In an interview with The Cricketer, Ahmed said he concluded Essex was ‘a white man’s world where brown people were outsiders’.

The 35-year-old also claimed his voice was mocked and mimicked by players and some coaches and he felt pressured to attend a team meeting in a pub on Ramadan.

The new development follows allegations made earlier this month by former Essex batter Zoheb Sharif, who said he received racist abuse.

He said it included being called ‘bomber’ by his team-mates after the 9/11 attacks in the US.

Another former Essex player, Maurice Chambers, described how he was allegedly subjected to racist bullying for 10 years at the club.

He claimed it included having bananas thrown at him and frequently being subjected to racist jokes.

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.

Yorkshire were widely condemned for saying they would not discipline anyone despite a report finding Rafiq was a victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’.

The club’s chair, Roger Hutton, and chief executive, Mark Arthur, subsequently resigned.

On Monday, Yorkshire announced that 36 people contacted their independent whistleblower hotline, initiated by chair Lord Kamlesh Patel, in a week.

The sport has been engulfed in the racism scandal after Rafiq’s claim to a parliamentary committee last week, outlining alleged racist abuse he got.

But Rafiq has since been exposed for writing anti-Semitic tweets and for allegedly sending ‘creepy’ Whatsapp messages to a teenage girl.

In the first instance, the then 19-year-old wrote: ‘Hahaha he is a Jew. Probs go after my 2nds again.’ He later added: ‘How wrong is that? Only Jews do that sort of s***.’

Rafiq last week told MailOnline: ‘I spoke to Atif today and apologised to him for what I said. He was very understanding.

‘I told I’m I was incredibly sorry as I am to all those who may have been offended. I spoke to Atif on the phone and he accepted my apology.’

A day later his messages to the teenager emerged, where he talked about kissing her and inviting her to dinner on a flight from Manchester to Dubai in 2015.

MailOnline can reveal that Rafiq and Javid made the offensive remarks about cricketer Atif Sheikh

MailOnline can reveal that Rafiq and Javid made the offensive remarks about cricketer Atif Sheikh

The exchange appears to show Rafiq, then 19, and Javid making offensive remarks about an unidentified Asian cricketer in 2011 who they accused of not paying a dinner bill because 'he is a Jew'

In a statement on Twitter, Rafiq apologised for his past remarks, saying he has deleted the exchange and that he is a 'different person today'

Left: The exchange appears to show Rafiq, then 19, and Javid making offensive remarks about an unidentified Asian cricketer in 2011 who they accused of not paying a dinner bill because ‘he is a Jew’. Right: In a statement on Twitter, Rafiq apologised for his past remarks, saying he has deleted the exchange and that he is a ‘different person today’

Gayathri Ajith, who was 16, claimed she received the messages from the former Yorkshire cricketer, who was then aged 24, in December 2015.

According to the messages, Mr Rafiq told the girl: ‘u know what I wanted to do on the plane?’

The message continued: ‘I want to grab you push u up against wall and kiss you.’ Ms Ajith also alleges that Mr Rafiq had asked her to join him for dinner in Dubai. 

She said she had told the cricketer that she was 17 to ‘appear a bit older’ and so she could join him having a vodka and coke while onboard the aircraft. 

After receiving the messages, Ms Ajith responded: ‘Do you realise that I’m only 17?’ 

It is alleged Mr Rafiq responded: ‘Does tht mean it not allowed to want to kiss me… wud u have let me kiss u?’

Ms Ajith, who is now 22, said the messages appeared ‘creepy’. Responding to the proposition, Ms Ajith replied: ‘How do I know that you’re not some absolute pervert?’

A spokesman for Rafiq’s legal team said: ‘This was put to us late on a Friday evening. We need to look into this, so cannot comment further for now.’

His legal team has since confirmed they are looking into the case but declined to comment further when pressed by MailOnline. 



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