Michael Vaughan kicked out of BBC Ashes commentary team amid anti-racism row

Michael Vaughan.  - AFP / File
Michael Vaughan. – AFP / File

LONDON: Michael Vaughan was kicked out of the BBC team of commentators for the upcoming Ashes series in Australia to avoid a “conflict of interest” in the midst of an ongoing racist argument.

English cricket has been rocked by racist revelations from Pakistan-born former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

These include an allegation that former England captain Vaughan told Rafiq, now 30, and other Yorkshire players of Asian descent that there was “too much Of you, we have to do something “at a county game in 2009.

Vaughan, an Ashes winning skipper in 2005, “categorically denied” the allegation.

Following Rafiq’s comments, which sparked a tidal wave of accusations of racism within English cricket, Vaughan, 47, was dismissed from his post. BBC radio show earlier this month.

And a spokesperson for the broadcaster said on Wednesday: “Although he is involved in an important story in cricket, for editorial reasons we don’t think it would be appropriate for Michael Vaughan to have a role in our team Ashes or wider coverage of the sport at present.

“We ask our contributors to speak on relevant topics and his involvement in Yorkshire history represents a conflict of interest.”

Vaughan still has a contract to comment on the Ashes series for Fox Sports, one of the hosts of Australian television, and the former prominent drummer remains a columnist for the British newspaper Daily Telegraph.

In a statement released earlier in November, Vaughan said: “I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and I want to repeat it publicly because the ‘you all’ comment just never occurred.

“It is extremely upsetting that this totally false accusation has been leveled against me by a former teammate, apparently supported by two other players.

“I have been in contact with the other six players on this team and none of them remembers the remark that was made,” he added.

Last week Rafiq, who later admitted to posting an anti-Semitic post on Twitter as a teenager, testified vividly before a parliamentary committee in a hearing in which he said his career had been interrupted by racism.

England and Wales Cricket Council chief executive Tom Harrison has been widely criticized for his response to Rafiq’s revelations when he appeared at the same hearing.

Following a meeting of constituent members of the national governing body on Friday, Harrison pledged “concrete action” to tackle racism, but said details would not be released until this week.

The fallout from the scandal for Yorkshire, one of the oldest and most prestigious counties in English cricket, has been devastating, with sponsors making a mass exodus and the club suspended from hosting lucrative international matches.

The Yorkshire chairman and chief executive have both resigned, while head coach Andrew Gale has been suspended pending investigations into a landmark anti-Semitic tweet.

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