Fresh crisis in ECB as Michael Vaughan accused of racism, denies Azeem Rafiq’s accusations


Former England captain has denied allegations that he behaved as racist towards Azeem Rafiq at the Yorkshire cricket club. Vaughan also revealed in a newspaper column that his name indeed featured in the independent report into Rafiq’s account of racial discrimination, harassment and bullying during his tenure at Yorkshire. The sensational revelation by Vaughan came amidst the ECB banning Yorkshire from hosting any international matches at the Headingly Cricket Ground.

Vaughan, who is currently employed by the BBC as a cricket pundit, revealed how the report accused of saying to Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naveed before a 2009 game against Nottinghamshire, “[There are] too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”

Denying allegations of racism, Vaughan said, “I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words,” he said. “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.”

He added, “I have nothing to hide. The ‘you lot’ comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said 10 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 the end to prove I am not that person.”

Rafiq, former Yorkshire cricker whose racism allegations has caused massive turmoil in English cricket, had claimed that Vaughan suggested Yorkshire should sign the Kiwi batsman Kane Williamson as a T20 player because he could also bowl some off-spin. This, according to him, was suggested to make him uncomfortable since Williamson was just a batsman.

Rafiq was quoted as saying in the report, “When Michael Vaughan retired, he took up the position as advisor and would often come to YCCC giving his opinion and captain-coach options which particularly were aimed at moving me out of the team. One such recommendation was for Kane Williamson to be signed and he categorically said he bowls ‘off-spin’ really well too.

“This is ridiculous as Kane Williamson is a batsman only. This comment about him bowling ‘off-spin’ was simply made in my presence to make me feel inferior.”

Denying charges, Vaughan said, “I absolutely deny that I ever said what he claims and that I recommended Kane Williamson for anything other than purely cricketing reasons. But having heard what has come out in the last few days, I can see how his perspective, and his experience was clearly very different to how I saw things at Yorkshire at that time.”

Earlier, the England and Wales Cricket Board banned the Yorkshire cricket club from hosting international matches for poorly handling the racism allegations made by Rafiq. Many top sponsors including Nike have already disassociated their relationship with Yorkshire in the wake of the racism row.