Michael Vaughan insists it’s ‘inconceivable’ he could have made ‘you lot’ comment

Michael Vaughan on Friday insisted he has never made offensive comments to team-mates or colleagues in 30 years in cricket as he repeatedly denied making the infamous ‘you lot’ comment to Azeem Rafiq 14 years ago.

The third day of the Cricket Discipline Commission hearing also saw the credibility of the investigation into Rafiq’s allegations significantly undermined, with the governing body’s director of legal Meena Botros admitting that key witnesses to the incident including Vaughan were not interviewed.

In another new development in the long-running case the CDC panel also heard claims from Rafiq’s former manager at the Professional Cricketers Association that Rafiq had twice threatened to ‘use the race card’ to his advantage while at Yorkshire.

During Vaughan’s cross-examination by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s lawyer, Jane Mulcahy KC, the former England captain said he had a very clear mind about the events of June 22, 2009 when he is alleged to have made the comment: ‘There’s too many of you lot,’ to four Asian players prior to the Twenty20 match between Yorkshire against Nottinghamshire.

While Vaughan admitted he could not recall his exact words he was adamant he did not use the phrase ‘you lot,’ to Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, which he conceded would have been racist.

Michael Vaughan has denied he made a racist comment to four former Yorkshire team-mates

The incident was said to have happened moments after a team huddle prior to a T20 match against Nottinghamshire in 2009

The incident was said to have happened moments after a team huddle prior to a T20 match against Nottinghamshire in 2009 when Vaughan allegedly said: ‘There’s too many of you lot’, to a group of Asian players including Azeem Rafiq, before adding ‘we need to have a word’

Vaughan said: ‘Knowing me in 2009, that’s not the sort of thing I would have said. I have been in cricket for 30 years now, whether as a player or as a broadcaster since 2010.

‘I’ve not had a team member come to me with a comment that I could have said like that. And the comment I am alleged to have said, that would have put my team-mates in a position where they wouldn’t have been able to perform to their maximum and that is not what I am about.’

Vaughan criticised the ECB’s handling of the process and revealed he had sought to clear the air with Rafiq in a meeting in Barnsley in November 2021. The 48-year-old repeated previous apologies for offensive tweets he sent in 2010, including ‘Not many English people live in London…I need to learn a new language.’

‘I don’t feel like this is the right process for word against word comments from 14 years ago,’ Vaughan said. ‘Whatever happens, it’s a terrible look for the game. I’m disgusted with what Azeem has had to go through, which is why I met him in 2021. I hold my hand up about the tweets. I was disgusted with them. I apologised for them. I put myself on an online course on inclusion.’

Vaughan’s legal team also criticised the ECB’s investigation, with their main lawyer Botros admitting that players and both umpires involved in the game in question were not interviewed.

The only players interviewed by the ECB were Rafiq, Rashid and Shahzad, and no attempt was made to contact the Sky Sports cameraman who filmed the huddle during which the comments were allegedly made.

‘There is no suggestion that the cameraman heard it,’ Botros said. ‘We had to carry out a reasonable and proportionate investigation. There is no suggestion that the umpires were close enough to hear it. We didn’t require anyone to hand their phones to us.

‘We asked for relevant documents from individuals. Did we ask for people to hand their phones physically over to us? No.’ The CDC panel also heard evidence from former Yorkshire player and PCA manager Matthew Wood, regarding Rafiq’s alleged threats to use the race card.

Vaughan arranged a meeting with Rafiq in November 2021 which lasted ‘three or four hours’

Rafiq (right) and Rashid (left) have both since said they felt no offence was meant in Vaughan's alleged comment, and that it was probably just 'bad humour'

Rafiq (right) and Rashid (left) have both since said they felt no offence was meant in Vaughan’s alleged comment, and that it was probably just ‘bad humour’

Wood’s statement read: ‘In my dealings with Azeem I was aware of two occasions in which he (directly or indirectly) acknowledged that he would be prepared to use the “race card”.

‘By that, I understood Azeem to mean that he would make, or allude to, an allegation of racism in bad faith in order to gain an advantage.’

The two occasions were allegedly a meeting in August 2018 when Wood claimed Rafiq had told him: ‘I’ll just hit them (Yorkshire) with the race card,’ if he did not receive a new contract, and another in 2020 when Wood said Rafiq used his Asian background as leverage to get on to an ECB coaching course having missed the deadline.

Rafiq denies those allegations.

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