Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan says he is ‘very disappointed’ to be dropped from the BBC’s Ashes coverage but ‘wants to be part of the solution’ after being accused of making a racist comment.
The BBC confirmed on Wednesday that Ashes-winning captain Vaughan would not be involved in their coverage of the upcoming series in Australia.
The decision comes after Vaughan was named in Yorkshire’s report into Azeem Rafiq’s claims of racism during his time at the club.
Vaughan has repeatedly denied the allegation made against him.
‘Very disappointed not to be commentating for TMS (BBC Test Match Special) on the Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues and friends, but looking forward to being behind the mic for Fox Cricket in Australia,’ Vaughan said on social media.
‘The issues facing cricket are bigger than any individual case and I want to be part of the solution, listening, educating myself and helping to make it a more welcoming sport for all.’
Joe Root’s England will attempt to win back the Ashes in Australia, with the first of five Tests starting on December 8 in Brisbane.
Vaughan, who played 82 Test matches for England, joined the BBC’s Test Match Special radio team as a summariser in 2009.
The 47-year-old was stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show earlier in the month after former Yorkshire player Rafiq alleged Vaughan told four Asian players ‘too many of you lot, we need to do something about it’ before a County Championship match in 2009.
England leg-spinner Adil Rashid and former Pakistan bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan both said they heard the comment, while the fourth player in the group – Ajmal Shahzad – said he had no recollection of the alleged event.
Vaughan wrote in his Daily Telegraph column that he ‘completely and categorically denies’ making the comment and insisted he is not racist.
He said: ‘I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the ‘you lot’ comment simply never happened.
‘It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players.
‘I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made.’
Announcing that Vaughan would not be involved in their Ashes coverage, the BBC said in a statement: ‘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.
‘We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest.’
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