Michael Vaughan has been dropped from the BBC commentary team for the upcoming Ashes series in Australia due to a “conflict of interest” in the midst of an ongoing racism controversy.
Racism allegations made by Pakistan-born former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq have rocked English cricket.
These have included allegations that former England captain Vaughan told Rafiq and other Asian-origin Yorkshire players during a county match in 2009 that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”
Vaughan, who won the Ashes in 2005, has “categorically denied” the allegation.
Following Rafiq’s comments, which sparked a tidal wave of racism accusations within English cricket, Vaughan, 47, was removed from his BBC radio show earlier this month.
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“While he is involved in a significant story in cricket, 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,” a spokesperson for the broadcaster said on Wednesday.
“We expect our contributors to discuss relevant topics, and his involvement in the Yorkshire story is a conflict of interest.”
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 is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom.
“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,” Vaughan said in a statement released earlier in November.
“It is extremely upsetting that a former teammate has made this completely false accusation against me, which appears to have been supported by two other players.”
“I’ve spoken with the other six players on that team, and none of them have any recollection of the remark being made,” he added.
Rafiq, who later admitted to posting an anti-Semitic message on Twitter as a teenager, gave compelling testimony to a parliamentary committee last week, claiming that racism had ended his career.
Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, was widely chastised for his reaction to Rafiq’s revelations while appearing at the same hearing.
Following a meeting of the constituent members of the national governing body on Friday, Harrison promised “tangible action” to combat racism, but said the details would not be released until this week.
Yorkshire, one of English cricket’s oldest and most prestigious counties, has been devastated by the scandal, with sponsors fleeing in droves and the club barred from hosting lucrative international matches.
Yorkshire’s chairman and CEO have both resigned, and head coach Andrew Gale has been suspended pending an investigation into a previous anti-Semitic tweet.