The BBC has dropped Michael Vaughan from their team covering this winter’s Ashes series because of his involvement in the ongoing investigation into racism at Yorkshire, having concluded that the former England captain could not comment on topical issues without exposing a conflict of interest.
Vaughan was accused by Azeem Rafiq of making a racist comment before a Yorkshire game in 2009, and though Vaughan has strongly denied doing so two other players, Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, have backed 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.”
Earlier this month the BBC dropped Tuffers and Vaughan, the radio show Vaughan co-presents with Phil Tufnell, after the 47-year-old used his Daily Telegraph column to admit that he had been accused by Rafiq. However, he is still likely to be heard in the UK during the Ashes, as he is contracted to commentate for the host broadcaster, Australia’s Fox network, and BT Sport will use the same commentary.
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.”