Michael Vaughan dropped from BBC Ashes commentary workforce amid racism row

Michael Vaughan. — AFP/File
Michael Vaughan. — AFP/File

LONDON: Michael Vaughan has been ignored of the BBC commentary workforce for the upcoming Ashes sequence in Australia to keep away from a “conflict of interest” amid an ongoing racism row.

English cricket has been rocked by revelations of racism from Pakistan-born former Yorkshire participant Azeem Rafiq.

These have included an allegation that former England captain Vaughan advised the now 30-year-old Rafiq and different Yorkshire gamers of Asian origin that there have been “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” throughout a county match in 2009.

Vaughan, an Ashes-winning skipper in 2005, has “categorically denied” the allegation.

Following Rafiq’s feedback, which have sparked a tidal wave of accusations of racism inside English cricket, the 47-year-old Vaughan was stood down from his BBC radio present earlier this month.

And a spokesperson for the broadcaster stated Wednesday: “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 speak about related matters and his involvement within the Yorkshire story represents a battle of curiosity.”

Vaughan still has a contract to commentate on the Ashes series for Fox Sports, one of the hosts Australian television broadcasters, and the former top-order batsman remains a columnist with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

In a statement issued earlier in November, Vaughan said: “I categorically deny saying the phrases attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and need to re-state this publicly as a result of the ‘you lot’ remark merely by no means occurred.

“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’ve been involved with the six different gamers from that workforce and never considered one of them has any recollection of the comment being made,” he added.

Last week saw Rafiq, who later admitted to posting an anti-Semitic message on Twitter as a teenager, give vivid testimony to a parliamentary committee during a hearing where he said his career had been cut short by racism.

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison, was widely criticised for his response to Rafiq’s revelations while appearing at the same hearing.

Following a meeting of the national governing body’s constituent members on Friday, Harrison promised “tangible motion” to combat racism, but said the details would not be published until this week.

The fallout for Yorkshire, one of English cricket’s oldest and most prestigious counties, over the scandal has been devastating, with sponsors making a mass exodus and the club suspended from hosting lucrative international matches.

Yorkshire’s chairman and chief executive have both resigned, while head coach Andrew Gale has been suspended pending investigations over a historical anti-Semitic tweet.