The Guardian

BBC drops Vaughan as Ashes pundit in light of racism claim

- Simon Burnton

Michael Vaughan faces being excluded from Britain’s radios and television screens during this winter’s Ashes series because of his involvemen­t in the investigat­ion into racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The BBC confirmed it had dropped the former England captain, and BT Sport said it was looking into whether it could remove him from its commentary.

Vaughan was accused by Azeem Rafiq of making a racist comment before a Yorkshire game in 2009, and although he has strongly denied doing so, two other players, Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, have corroborat­ed Rafiq’s version of events.

“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,” the BBC said in a statement.

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

This month the BBC dropped Tuffers and Vaughan, the radio show Vaughan co-presented with Phil Tufnell, after Vaughan, aged 47, used his Daily Telegraph column to say he had been accused by Rafiq.

However, BT Sport’s task in removing him from its Ashes broadcasts is complicate­d by the fact that he is contracted to Australia’s Fox network, whose commentary it had planned to use. It could now put together its own commentary team, or attempt to switch from Fox to the other Australian broadcaste­r covering the series, Channel 7.

“As a result of Covid and travel restrictio­ns BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaste­r,” a BT Sport spokesman said.

Vaughan has been accused of telling a group of Asian cricketers that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”. “This hit me very hard,” he wrote in the Telegraph.

“It was like being struck over the head with a brick. I have been involved in cricket for 30 years and never once been accused of any remotely similar incident or disciplina­ry offence as a player or commentato­r.

“That the allegation came completely out of the blue and more than a decade after it was alleged to have happened made it all the more difficult to process. I completely and categorica­lly deny that I ever said those words.”

‘His involvemen­t in the Yorkshire story is a conflict of interest’

Spokespers­on BBC

 ?? ?? ▲ Michael
Vaughan, who is alleged to have made a racist comment in 2009, faces being taken off UK radio and TV coverage of cricket
▲ Michael Vaughan, who is alleged to have made a racist comment in 2009, faces being taken off UK radio and TV coverage of cricket
 ?? ?? ▼ Ex-cricketer Azeem gives evidence Rafiq during a parliament­ary hearing into institutio­nal racism in cricket including Yorkshire County Cricket Club
▼ Ex-cricketer Azeem gives evidence Rafiq during a parliament­ary hearing into institutio­nal racism in cricket including Yorkshire County Cricket Club
 ?? PHOTOGRAPH: SHUTTERSTO­CK ??
PHOTOGRAPH: SHUTTERSTO­CK

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