Michael Vaughan steps down from commentary role amid racism allegations

Azeem Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent, said Vaughan made racist comments against players of Asian origin in Yorkshire

By Reuters

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Former England captain Michael Vaughan (right) with radio presenter Jonathan Agnew. (Reuters)
Former England captain Michael Vaughan (right) with radio presenter Jonathan Agnew. (Reuters)

Published: Wed 29 Jun 2022, 2:41 PM

Michael Vaughan has temporarily stepped down from commentary duties with the BBC, the former England captain said on Tuesday after he was embroiled in the racism controversy involving former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent, alleged that Vaughan told him and two other players of Asian origin that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” before a match in 2009. Vaughan has strongly denied the accusation.

Former cricketer Azeem Rafiq. (AP)
Former cricketer Azeem Rafiq. (AP)

Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) and a number of individuals were charged following an investigation into the claims.

Vaughan said the main reason he stepped down was “concern for the wellbeing” of his family.

“On numerous occasions, I have put on record my views on the issues concerning YCCC. It is always regrettable when commentary on matters off the field take the focus away from what’s happening on the field,” Vaughan said on Twitter.

“In view of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, I have taken the decision to step back from my work with the BBC for the time being.

“Stepping back temporarily is also in the interests of the game and I hope that it will minimise any difficulties for my work colleagues.”

Vaughan had previously been dropped from the BBC’s coverage of the Ashes series in Australia last year but returned to the commentary team for England’s Test series against New Zealand.

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