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Michael Vaughan denies making racist comment

Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan captained England in 51 of his 82 Tests

Former England captain Michael Vaughan says he was named in Yorkshire’s Azeem Rafiq report but «totally denies any allegation of racism».

An investigation found Rafiq had been a victim of «racial harassment and bullying» while at the club.

Vaughan says the report states he told a group of Asian players, including Rafiq: «Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.»

But Vaughan says he «completely and categorically denies» saying that.

He said that the comments were alleged to have been made in 2009 while he was still a player at Yorkshire before a match against Nottinghamshire.

Writing in his Daily Telegraph columnexternal-link, the BBC pundit added: «This hit me very hard. It was like being struck over the head with a brick.

«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.

«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.»

Vaughan said he was asked to speak to the investigation in December 2020.

He said that during the summer he told BBC colleagues «that these allegations had been made against me» adding: «I felt uncomfortable that it could emerge and they would be asked some awkward questions.»

In his Telegraph column he also includes previously unpublished extracts of the report.

Yorkshire’s investigations began in 2020 after Rafiq claimed «institutional racism» at the club left him close to taking his own life.

After more than a year – and having been asked to do so by MPs – Yorkshire released the findings of an independent report in September which upheld seven of the 43 allegations made by Rafiq.

But the club said no players, coaches or executives would face disciplinary action following the club’s own investigation into the report’s findings.

The fallout from Yorkshire’s response to the racism report intensified on Monday when ESPN Cricinfo reported a racist term about Rafiq’s Pakistani heritage was regularly used towards him, but the investigation concluded it was «friendly and good-natured banter».

On Thursday Yorkshire were suspended from hosting England matches by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The ECB board says the ban will last until the club has «clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected».

Kit suppliers Nike and several sponsors have cut ties with the club while a senior MP has called for the Yorkshire board to resign.