Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has “categorically denied” accusations that he made discriminatory comments to Yorkshire teammates of Asian origin.
The 48-year-old told an inquiry looking into racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club in 2009 that being implicated has had a profound effect on his health and wellbeing.
He faces a charge by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of using racist and/or discriminatory language.
But of the Yorkshire players accused of racist behaviour, Vaughan is the only one to contest the charges in person. He appeared before the board in London today.
Fellow former Yorkshire players Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah all face similar charges.
‘I know I didn’t say the words’
Vaughan is alleged to have told four players of Asian origin – Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Ajmal Shahzad – that “there’s too many of you lot, we have to have a word about that” after a team huddle during a T20 match.
Asked by ECB lawyer Jane Mulcahy KC if those words were “totally unacceptable” and “racist and discriminatory”, Vaughan, who captained the England test team from 2003 to 2008, agreed “absolutely” and said it was “inconceivable” he would have used them.
“I have a very clear mind about, back in 2009, that I know I didn’t say the words I’ve been alleged to have said,” said Vaughan.
“If you go through the history of me as a player I don’t know any time I’d have gone onto a pitch and said something to my teammates that would have put them in a bad state of mind to play cricket.”
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Image: Azeem Rafiq gave evidence to the inquiry on March 2 Vaughan admits old tweets ‘unacceptable’
Vaughan was also confronted with three historical tweets, including one from 2010 about the telephone directory service 118 118.
He wrote at the time: “Why when you ring 118 118 are all the people who answer foreign… Can’t make heads or tails of what they are saying… Annoying.”
Vaughan accepted that the tweet was “unacceptable” and said that when the old tweets surfaced in 2021 he “straight away was disgusted with them and apologised for them”.
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Former Yorkshire captain Azeem Rafiq said he was close to suicide because of racism he experienced during his time there In his witness statement, Vaughan referenced the toll being accused of making a racist remark had taken on him.
“Being named and implicated in this matter has had a profound effect on me,” he said. “My health and personal wellbeing have suffered badly.”
The ECB began its investigation after Rafiq accused his teammates and the management of Yorkshire of racism in 2020 in a series of interviews with Sky Sports.