December 7, 2021, 20:03

    Michael Vaughan axed by BBC from Ashes coverage amid Azeem Rafiq’s allegation of racism

    Michael Vaughan axed by BBC from Ashes coverage amid Azeem Rafiq’s allegation of racism

    Michael Vaughan has been axed by the BBC for their coverage of the Ashes after an allegation was made against him by Azeem Rafiq.

    The former England skipper would have been part of the team providing commentary and analysis for BBC's channels throughout the series, which gets under way on December 8.

    But the broadcaster has announced it will not be employing Vaughan for the Ashes this year as he is involved in the "significant story" surrounding a racist remark he allegedly made while playing for Yorkshire in 2009.

    Rafiq claimed Vaughan had said to a group of Asian players that there were "too many of you lot" in the Yorkshire squad.

    Vaughan has repeatedly denied the allegation made against him.

    Michael Vaughan will not cover the Ashes for the BBC this winter, the broadcaster has confirmed


    "I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words," he wrote in a column for the Telegraph. "I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person."

    The BBC said it had taken the "editorial" decision to cut Vaughan from its coverage of the Ashes, which starts on December 8.

    "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," the broadcaster said in a statement.

    "We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest."

    UK fans may still be able to hear Vaughan's analysis over the airwaves in December and January, though, as he is still set to work for Fox Sports – BT Sport, which has the rights to show the action, will be using the Australian broadcaster's feed.

    While Vaughan denied the allegation, Rafiq's claim was supported by Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Adil Rashid.

    The BBC's decision comes after it had already removed the former England skipper from the Tuffers and Vaughan Show on BBC radio.

    Michael Vaughan has denied Azeem Rafiq's allegation of racism from 2009


    It also follows a plea from Rafiq last week for the broadcaster to cut ties with the 47-year-old.

    "With people in denial there’s got to be a level of accountability there and it’s for their employers to send out a message — are they going to give a green light to racism or are they going to stamp it out?," he said to BBC Sport.

    "I'm disappointed in a lot of people's denials. It may not mean a lot to them — I can live with that.

    "But to try and completely deny it and make out that it’s all made up in my head is hurtful."

    Responding to the news on Instagram, Vaughan said: "Very disappointed not to be commentating for [Test Match Special] on the Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues and friends, but looking forward to being behind the mic for Fox Cricket in Australia.

    "The issues facing cricket are bigger than any individual case and I want to be part of the solution, listening, educating myself and helping to make it a more welcoming sport for all."

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