BBC drops Michael Vaughan from radio show amid allegations in Yorkshire racism scandal

The BBC said in a statement that Vaughan would not appear as a presenter on Monday’s topical Tuffers and Vaughan Show given his ‘personal involvement’ in cricket’s biggest news story

Lawrence Ostlere
Friday 05 November 2021 17:31 GMT
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The BBC has dropped Michael Vaughan from his radio show on 5 Live amid allegations made against him in the Yorkshire racism scandal.

Vaughan revealed in his Daily Telegraph column on Friday that he had been accused by his former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq of making a racist comment towards a group of Asian players, allegedly saying: “Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”

The 47-year-old used the article to “completely and categorically deny” making the comment.

However another former Yorkshire player, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, has alleged that he also heard Vaughan making the comment while playing for the county.

The BBC said in a statement that Vaughan would not appear as a presenter alongside Phil Tufnell on Monday’s Tuffers and Vaughan Show.

“The BBC takes any allegations of racism extremely seriously,” the corporation said. “The allegation against Michael Vaughan pre-dates his time working for the BBC, we were not part of the investigation conducted by Yorkshire County Cricket Club and we have had no access to the subsequent report. However, we were made aware of a single allegation which Michael strongly denies and we have been monitoring the situation closely.

“We have made the editorial decision that Michael won’t appear as a presenter on 5 live’s Tuffers and Vaughan show on Monday. The show focuses on topical discussion around current cricketing matters and given his personal involvement, we need to ensure we maintain the impartiality of the programme. We remain in discussion with Michael and his team.”

Vaughan joined the BBC as an analyst on the radio show Test Match Special in 2009, the same year the comment was allegedly made, and has remained prominent in the corporation's cricket coverage. It is understood his long-term position at the BBC is under review.

Rana, who played almost 100 tests and ODIs for Pakistan, told ESPN that he was standing next to Vaughan at Trent Bridge in 2009 when he allegedly said it. Rana added that he was prepared to provide evidence to an enquiry.

Speaking to ESPN in 2020, when Rafiq’s allegations became public knowledge, Rana said: “I fully support what Azeem said and this has been the case with me as well. I never spoke about it because, as foreigners, we were temporary and somehow I managed to accept the way it is. So I just focused on playing cricket. I never wanted to jeopardise my contracts.

“At times I used to feel bad, but I decided to ignore it because I knew I was not going to live there permanently. But I know what Azeem went through.”

Vaughan was implicated in the scandal the day after his former teammate, Gary Ballance, admitted to using the racial slur “P***” when speaking to Rafiq.

Ballance apologised in a lengthy statement, saying he “deeply regrets some of the language I used in my younger years”, but added that “at no time did I believe or understand that it had caused Rafa distress” and said he didn’t recall reducing Rafiq to tears.

On Friday morning, Yorkshire’s chairman, Roger Hutton, resigned following an exodus of major sponsors and political pressure.

Hutton, who joined the board almost two years after Rafiq left the club, said there had been “a constant unwillingness from the executive members of the board and senior management at the club to apologise.”

Hutton was also critical of the England and Wales Cricket Board, claiming the governing body had “declined to help” and were “reluctant to act” when he informed them of Rafiq’s allegations.

An emergency board meeting was taking place at Yorkshire on Friday morning following Hutton’s statement, with chief executive Mark Arthur and director of cricket Martyn Moxon under pressure to step down.

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