Former England skipper Michael Vaughan said that he is “very disappointed” after being dropped from the BBC’s Ashes coverage for allegedly making racist comments towards former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq. The Pakistan-born Rafiq alleged that Vaughan told him and two other players of Asian origin that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” before a County game in 2009, an accusation that Vaughan denied. Vaughan said he was disappointed with the decision but added that the issues afflicting cricket are bigger than his plight.
“Very disappointed not to be commentating for TMS on the Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues & friends, but looking forward to being behind the mic for @foxcricket in Australia. The issues facing cricket are bigger than any individual case and I want to be part of the solution, listening, educating myself and helping to make it a more welcoming sport for all,” Vaughan wrote in a statement posted on his Instagram account.
The BBC on Wednesday announced that Vaughan won’t be a part of will not be part of its Test Match Special (TMS) team for the upcoming series in Australia.
“While he is involved in a significant story in cricket, for editorial reasons we do not believe that it would be appropriate for 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,” the statement added.
However, England’s 2005 Ashes-winning skipper still has a contract to commentate in Ashes on Fox Sports Australia, and Vaughan remains a columnist with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.
In a statement released earlier, Vaughan had “categorically” denied the claims made on him by Rafiq, who has rocked English cricket by his recent revelations of racism within the system.
“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,” he added.
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