Michael Vaughan denies racism allegation after being named in Azeem Rafiq report

Michael Vaughan has categorically denied making a racist remark to Azeem Rafiq before a county match between Yorkshire and Nottingham in 2009.

The Rafiq case has dominated British cricket in recent weeks, and on Thursday the ECB took action against Yorkshire CCC for its "wholly unacceptable" handling of issues raised by Rafiq.

In a column published by The Telegraph on Thursday night, Vaughan revealed he is named in the Rafiq report, but said he denies the claims made against him.

Vaughan said: "In December 2020 I was asked to speak to the independent panel formed by Yorkshire to investigate Rafiq’s claims. Other than having well-known and longstanding associations to the club I had no idea why they wanted to speak to me but I agreed to make myself available.

"The night before I was due to give evidence, out of the blue, I was hit with the news that Rafiq was alleging that in 2009, when I was still a player and before a Yorkshire match against Nottinghamshire, I had said to Rafiq and two other Asian players as we walked onto the field together that there are 'too many of you lot, we need to do something about it'.

"This hit me very hard. 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. I responded to the panel by saying I was gobsmacked and that my professional legal advice was that I could not appear before a panel having had just a few hours’ notice of the such serious claims made against me."

Vaughan also defended himself against a claim from Rafiq that he suggested Yorkshire should sign Kane Williamson as a T20 player because he bowls off-spin as well as bats.

In the report, Rafiq had said: "When Michael Vaughan retired, he took up the position as advisor and would often come to YCCC giving his opinion and captain-coach options which particularly were aimed at moving me out of the team.

"One such recommendation was for Kane Williamson to be signed and he categorically said he bowls 'off-spin' really well too.

"This is ridiculous as Kane Williamson is a batsman only.

"This comment about him bowling “off-spin” was simply made in my presence to make me feel inferior."

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