Michael Vaughan dropped from Ashes by BBC and may be removed by BT Sport

  • Former England captain denies allegations of racist remark
  • BT Sport may switch commentary with Vaughan on Fox Sports

Michael Vaughan faces being completely excluded from Britain’s radios and television screens during this winter’s Ashes series because of his involvement in the ongoing investigation into racism at Yorkshire, after the BBC confirmed they had dropped the former England captain and BT Sport said they were looking into whether they could remove him from their commentary team.

Vaughan was accused by Azeem Rafiq of making a racist comment before a Yorkshire game in 2009, and though he has strongly denied doing so two other players, Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, have corroborated Rafiq’s version of events.

“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 BBC 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.”

Earlier this month the BBC dropped Tuffers and Vaughan, the radio show Vaughan co-presents with Phil Tufnell, after the 47-year-old used his Daily Telegraph column to admit that he had been accused by Rafiq. However BT Sport’s task in removing him from their Ashes broadcasts is complicated by the fact that he is contracted to Australia’s Fox network, whose commentary they had planned to use. They could now put together their own commentary team, or attempt to switch from Fox to the other Australian broadcaster covering the series, Channel 7.

“As a result of Covid and travel restrictions BT Sport had made the decision to take our commentary feed from the Australian host broadcaster,” a BT Sport spokesman said. “The recent report presented to UK Parliament uncovering institutional racism within cricket and specifically Yorkshire County Cricket Club is extremely disappointing and a concern for all. Given these recent events we are reviewing and discussing our commentary plans with Cricket Australia.”

Vaughan has been accused of telling a group of Asian cricketers that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”. “This hit me very hard,” he wrote in the Telegraph. “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. That the allegation came completely out of the blue and more than a decade after it was alleged to have happened made it all the more difficult to process. I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words.”


Simon Burnton

The GuardianTramp

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