The BBC has dumped Michael Vaughan from its Ashes coverage after he was accused of making a racist remark over a decade ago.
The corporation gave the former England captain the boot for ‘editorial reasons’ in a statement today – just weeks after being kicked off his BBC Radio 5 Live.
A spokesman said bosses ‘do not believe it would be appropriate’ for the cricketing legend to cover the sport ‘at the moment’.
Vaughan was accused of telling four players of Asian heritage ‘there are too many of you lot. We need to do something about it’ during a 2009 county match.
Former teammate turned whistleblower Azeem Rafiq resurfaced the alleged comment this year and was backed by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.
But the final player in the group – Ajmal Shahzad – said he did not remember the comments and Vaughan has categorically denied the allegations.
The corporation gave the former England captain (pictured on Thursday) the boot for ‘editorial reasons’ in a statement today – just weeks after being kicked off his BBC Radio 5 Live
Former teammate turned whistleblower Azeem Rafiq resurfaced the alleged comment this year and was backed by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan
Pictured: England players match up against the England Lions in Australia as they prepare for the Ashes next month
The BBC unceremoniously dumped him from his role on Test Match Special after joining in 2009
Despite this, the BBC has still unceremoniously dumped him from his role on Test Match Special after joining in 2009.
A BBC spokesman said: ‘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.
‘We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest.’
Vaughan allegedly made the comment ahead of the 2009 T20 match between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
Footage shows Vaughan shaking hands with the four Yorkshire team-mates – Rashid, Rafiq, Naved-ul-Hasan, and Shahzad, with them all laughing.
Rafiq claimed Vaughan said: ‘There are too many of you lot. We need to do something about it.’
Rashid and Naved-ul-Hasan said they backed the claim but former seamer Ajmal Shahzad said he did not hear the exchange at which he was present.
Vaughan said: ‘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.’
The match the comments were said to have been made at were today revealed to be a T20 match against Nottinghamshire (pictured)
Pictured: Footage resurfaced which shows cricketer Michael Vaughan shaking the hands of four Asian players ahead of the match where he is accused of making racist comments to them
Vaughan was earlier this month stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show after saying he was named in a report into Yorkshire CCC’s treatment of Rafiq.
But he is still set to commentate on the Ashes this winter after receiving the backing of Australian rights-holders Fox Sports, who will provide the audio to BT Sport.
The 47-year-old has a long-term contract with Fox, who even paid him last winter despite border restrictions preventing him from travelling to Australia.
The latest in the Yorkshire racism row comes as a commission looking at racism in cricket said it was ‘inundated’ with more than 2,000 responses in a fortnight.
The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC), set up by the ECB in March, opened an anonymous online survey on November 9.
It asked for people’s views on the culture of the game and its chair, Cindy Butts, said there had already been a huge response.
Cricketer Azeem Rafiq (pictured) fought back tears as MPs heard bombshell allegations of institutional racism at the heart of the English game last week
Rafiq of Yorkshire bowls during the NatWest T20 Blast Semi Final against Durham at Edgbaston in 2016
Yorkshire Cricket Club scandal timeline
2008-2018: Azeem Rafiq spends 10 years at Yorkshire CCC, becoming their youngest-ever captain and first of Asian origin in 2012.
September 2020: Yorkshire launch investigation as Rafiq reveals that ‘deep-rooted’ racism at the club left him ‘close to committing suicide’. ‘I would regularly come home from training and cry all day,’ he said. Accusations included people saying there was ‘too many of you lot’ referring to Rafiq and Asian team-mates.
December 2020: Rafiq files legal claim against the county, claiming he suffered ‘direct discrimination and harassment on the grounds of race, as well as victimisation and detriment as a result of his efforts to address racism at the club’.
June 2021: Report is delayed and Rafiq’s lawyer says the pushbacks ‘create a lack of faith in the entire process’. Employment tribunal is held but parties fail to resolve the dispute.
August 2021: Yorkshire issue ‘profound apologies’ to Rafiq as report finds he was ‘the victim of inappropriate behaviour’. But they do not accept the claim of institutional racism – Rafiq accuses the county of ‘fudging’ his claims and promised he was ‘not going away’.
September 2021: ECB are ‘very concerned’ with the summary of the panel’s findings, with Yorkshire admitting Rafiq was the victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’.
But just seven of the 43 allegations made are upheld, with Yorkshire saying they do not intend to publish a full report.
October 2021: Yorkshire say they will not take disciplinary action against any of its employees following the report. Rafiq writes on Twitter that the club is ’embarrassing’, saying it gives a ‘green light’ to racism.
Last week: Details of the report are published by ESPNcricinfo, including a senior player’s admission that he repeatedly used the word ‘P***’ in reference to Rafiq, which was deemed ‘banter’. Health secretary Sajid Javid said ‘heads should roll’, with the Prime Minister asking the ECB to investigate.
Last week: MailOnline reveals the player was Rafiq’s former Yorkshire team-mate, England batsman Gary Ballance. Sponsors Anchor Butter, Yorkshire Tea and Emerald all cut ties with the club.
She said: ‘Since launching part one of our call for evidence we have been inundated with responses.
‘More than 2,000 people across the country have come forward to share their experiences both through the survey and also by directly reaching out to the ICEC. We anticipate that more and more people will come forward.
‘We continue to urge anyone who has experienced discrimination whether that be sexism, elitism or racism, to respond to our call for evidence so we can examine the state of equity in cricket.’
The Daily Mail reported that allegations of racism had been made to the ICEC in relation to all 18 first-class counties.
The Commission will produce a report next year based on the evidence it receives.
Butts told the BBC earlier this month: ‘We will say what we need to say and not shy away from really putting a mirror up to cricket and saying ‘this is what you look like’. We will follow the evidence wherever it takes us.’
Jahid Ahmed has become the latest former Essex player to allege he was the subject of racist abuse while playing for the club.
In an interview with The Cricketer, Ahmed said he concluded Essex was ‘a white man’s world where brown people were outsiders’.
The 35-year-old also claimed his voice was mocked and mimicked by players and some coaches and he felt pressured to attend a team meeting in a pub on Ramadan.
The new development follows allegations made earlier this month by former Essex batter Zoheb Sharif, who said he received racist abuse.
He said it included being called ‘bomber’ by his team-mates after the 9/11 attacks in the US.
Another former Essex player, Maurice Chambers, described how he was allegedly subjected to racist bullying for 10 years at the club.
He claimed it included having bananas thrown at him and frequently being subjected to racist jokes.
John Faragher resigned as Essex chairman on November 11 following a claim he used racist language at a board meeting in 2017, which he strongly denied.
Yorkshire were widely condemned for saying they would not discipline anyone despite a report finding Rafiq was a victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’.
The club’s chair, Roger Hutton, and chief executive, Mark Arthur, subsequently resigned.
On Monday, Yorkshire announced that 36 people contacted their independent whistleblower hotline, initiated by chair Lord Kamlesh Patel, in a week.
The sport has been engulfed in the racism scandal after Rafiq’s claim to a parliamentary committee last week, outlining alleged racist abuse he got.
But Rafiq has since been exposed for writing anti-Semitic tweets and for allegedly sending ‘creepy’ Whatsapp messages to a teenage girl.
In the first instance, the then 19-year-old wrote: ‘Hahaha he is a Jew. Probs go after my 2nds again.’ He later added: ‘How wrong is that? Only Jews do that sort of s***.’
Rafiq last week told MailOnline: ‘I spoke to Atif today and apologised to him for what I said. He was very understanding.
‘I told I’m I was incredibly sorry as I am to all those who may have been offended. I spoke to Atif on the phone and he accepted my apology.’
A day later his messages to the teenager emerged, where he talked about kissing her and inviting her to dinner on a flight from Manchester to Dubai in 2015.
MailOnline can reveal that Rafiq and Javid made the offensive remarks about cricketer Atif Sheikh
Left: The exchange appears to show Rafiq, then 19, and Javid making offensive remarks about an unidentified Asian cricketer in 2011 who they accused of not paying a dinner bill because ‘he is a Jew’. Right: In a statement on Twitter, Rafiq apologised for his past remarks, saying he has deleted the exchange and that he is a ‘different person today’
Gayathri Ajith, who was 16, claimed she received the messages from the former Yorkshire cricketer, who was then aged 24, in December 2015.
According to the messages, Mr Rafiq told the girl: ‘u know what I wanted to do on the plane?’
The message continued: ‘I want to grab you push u up against wall and kiss you.’ Ms Ajith also alleges that Mr Rafiq had asked her to join him for dinner in Dubai.
She said she had told the cricketer that she was 17 to ‘appear a bit older’ and so she could join him having a vodka and coke while onboard the aircraft.
After receiving the messages, Ms Ajith responded: ‘Do you realise that I’m only 17?’
It is alleged Mr Rafiq responded: ‘Does tht mean it not allowed to want to kiss me… wud u have let me kiss u?’
Ms Ajith, who is now 22, said the messages appeared ‘creepy’. Responding to the proposition, Ms Ajith replied: ‘How do I know that you’re not some absolute pervert?’
A spokesman for Rafiq’s legal team said: ‘This was put to us late on a Friday evening. We need to look into this, so cannot comment further for now.’
His legal team has since confirmed they are looking into the case but declined to comment further when pressed by MailOnline.
Which England stars have Azeem Rafiq dragged into explosive cricket row and what has he claimed?
Rafiq said he started medication due to his deteriorating mental health and left Yorkshire for the first time in 2014. When he returned he initially felt settled under captain Alex Lees and coach Jason Gillespie.
‘Jason left in 2016 and it just felt the temperature in the room had been turned up,’ Rafiq said. ‘You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain. For the first time I started to see for what it was – I felt isolated, humiliated at times. Constant use of the word ‘P***’.’
Rafiq said on a 2017 pre-season tour Ballance had racially abused him. ‘We were in a place and Gary Ballance walks over and goes, ‘Why are you talking to him? You know he’s a P***’. This happened in front of team-mates. It happened in front of coaching staff.’
Gary Ballance (pictured playing for England against South Africa in July 2017) is among the cricket stars accused of being racist between 2008 and 2018 by Rafiq
He added: ‘He would constantly talk down to me and make racist jokes, designed to undermine me and make me feel small, like coming up and interrupting when I was talking to girls in a club, saying ‘don’t talk to him, he’s a P***’. I remember crying outside a nightclub after his constant racist taunting.
‘On those bus trips, he would look out for corner shops and make comments like ‘does your dad own these?’ Gary would often make comments like this on YCCC [Yorkshire County Cricket Club] bus trips, in the dressing room, or at events — and in front of YCCC coaches, staff and management, including our coach, Andrew Gale, [the coach] Richard Pyrah, director of cricket Martyn Moxon, and club president Dickie Bird. But nothing was said or done to stop it. Instead, they often laughed along.’
Ballance admitted using a ‘racial slur’ towards Rafiq in a lengthy statement this month, apologising but framing it as part of their friendship. Rafiq told the committee that was not an accurate depiction of their relationship, saying it went downhill from 2013 onwards and had become toxic by 2017.
Rafiq also alleged former England batter Alex Hales was involved, saying: ‘Gary and Alex Hales got really close to each other when they played for England together. I wasn’t present in that dressing room, but what I understand (is) that Alex went on to name his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.’
Alex Hales pictured with ex-girlfriend Danni Gisbourne, who dumped him over claims he had been unfaithful on a cricket tour
Asked about Vaughan, Rafiq said: ‘Michael might not remember it… three of us, Adil, myself and Rana remember it.
‘He clearly had a snippet of my statement. He used his platform at the Daily Telegraph to tell everyone he hadn’t said these things. To go on and put a snippet of my statement out and talk about other things, I thought was completely wrong. He probably doesn’t remember it because it doesn’t mean anything to him.’
Rafiq make claims over the former England player’s behaviour at the club, saying he was among ‘six or seven’ players to have made a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. But he added that he was the only one of those players who was of colour.
He said: ‘Tim is Andrew’s [Gale’s] brother-in-law. They always supported each other. Tim would tag along and join in with Andrew’s racist comments and they bounced off each other in terms of the bullying. As with Andrew, Tim frequently made racist comments and was unduly harsh towards me compared to white British players, which became so unbearable that I made a formal complaint against him in 2017.’
Rafiq said: ‘It was Hoggy who started calling me ‘Raffa the Kaffir’. It was only later I realised what ‘Kaffir’ meant, how it was used, and that it was a racist term. Comments from Hoggy towards myself and the other Asian players — Adil, Ajmal and Rana — were constant.
‘He might have thought it was just dressing room banter, but we would come in in the morning and he would say things like ‘you lot sit over there’ and make us all sit together. He would also call us things like ‘elephant washers’ and ‘P***’. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience at Yorkshire.
He said: ‘I took a phone call from Matthew and he just said, ‘Look, I didn’t realise, I’m really sorry. If some of the comments I made made you feel the way you’ve described it, I just want to apologise’. You know what, when someone does that, I was like, ‘Thank you, I really appreciate it’.’
Rafiq also made claims over Tim Bresnan’s (left) behaviour at the club, saying he was among ‘six or seven’ players to have made a bullying complaint against the star in 2017. Rafiq said Matthew Hoggard (right) had apologised to him after watching him being interviewed about his experience at Yorkshire
Rafiq said he found it ‘hurtful’ England captain Root said he had never witnessed anything of a racist nature at Yorkshire. ‘Rooty is a good man. He never engaged in racist language,’ Rafiq said.
‘I found it hurtful because Rooty was Gary (Ballance)’s housemate and had been involved in a lot of the socialising where I was called a ‘P***’. It shows how normal it was that even a good man like him doesn’t see it for what it was. It’s not going to affect Joe, but it’s something I remember every day.’
David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd:
Rafiq claimed: ‘There were denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing, high-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like ‘the clubhouse is the lifeblood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there’, and ‘getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of a stone’.
‘And then personally, this guy doesn’t even know me, has never spent any time with me, talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising. That was David Lloyd, he’s been an England coach, commentator and I found it disturbing. Within a week of me speaking out that’s what I got sent to me, and I thought, ‘God, there’s some closet racists and we need to do something about it’.’
Sky cricket pundit David Lloyd has apologised after being named by Azeem Rafiq amid cricket’s racism storm
Rafiq claimed Jack Brooks, a two-time County Championship winner at Yorkshire, had started the disrespectful practice of calling India star Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ during an overseas stint at the club.