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CRICKET

Vaughan’s role at BBC under review amid racism claims

Former England captain Michael Vaughan. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

MICHAEL VAUGHAN’S position as a cricket analyst at the BBC is under review after a second Asian cricketer said that he heard the former England skipper say racist comments while playing for Yorkshire in 2009.

Vaughan said on Thursday (4) that his name is there in the report of the independent investigation panel, which looked into the racism claims made by the club’s former player Azeem Rafiq, during his two spells at Yorkshire.

Vaughan, in response to the allegation said that he was “gobsmacked” to find out being named in the report and strongly denied the allegations, which related to a match at Trent Bridge.

Writing in his column for The Daily Telegraph on Thursday (4), the former England captain revealed that he was asked to speak to the independent panel last year regarding an allegation made by Rafiq in 2009, when he was still a player at Yorkshire – where he had reportedly said to Rafiq and two other Asian players: “There are too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”

“I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words,” he wrote in the column. “I responded to the panel by saying that I was gobsmacked and that my professional legal advice was that I could not appear before a panel having had just a few hours’ notice of such serious claims made against me.”

“Nothing at all was raised or said at the time of the game in question. It was not mentioned over the next 11 years until the night before I was asked to speak to the inquiry.”

Friday morning (5), Yorkshire chairman, Roger Hutton, resigned over the club’s handling of the racism allegations. The ECB on Thursday (4) condemned the response of the club and suspended them from hosting international matches at Headingley. Nike as sponsor have also ended their association with Yorkshire.

Hutton and Rafiq will both appear before MPs at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing on November 16.

ESPNcricinfo reported this morning that former Pakistan player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, then the club’s overseas player, has confirmed that he heard Vaughan make the comments and is prepared to provide evidence to any inquiry. He added that he was standing alongside Rafiq at Trent Bridge when it happened.

Vaughan, who retired in 2009, said: “I have nothing to hide. The ‘you lot’ comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said ten years ago will be fallible, but I am adamant those words were not used. If Rafiq believes something was said at the time to upset him then that is what he believes. It is difficult to comment on that except to say it hurts me hugely to think I potentially affected someone. I take it as the most serious allegation ever put in front of me and I will fight to prove I am not that person.

“During the summer, I told my colleagues at the BBC that these allegations had been made against me. I felt uncomfortable that it could emerge and they would be asked some awkward questions. Similarly, I am speaking now because it is right for people to hear my side and that I completely deny the allegations.”

A spokesperson for BBC Sport on Friday (5) said that they were working through the Vaughan allegations and would be issuing a statement in due course.

Eastern Eye

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