BBC DROPS Michael Vaughan from Ashes coverage


BBC DROPS Michael Vaughan from Ashes coverage after former England captain is accused of making ‘racist remark in 2009 towards a group of Asian players when he played for Yorkshire’


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 three 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 comment last month 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 former England captain was given the boot for ‘editorial reasons’ by the corporation in a statement today

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.’

Vaughan was stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show after saying he was named in the independent report into Yorkshire’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.

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