Michael Vaughan pictured for first time amid Azeem Rafiq’s racism allegation

Michael Vaughan has been pictured for the first time since Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq's allegation of racism.

The former England captain, who has been accused of racism by Rafiq amid the Yorkshire scandal that has rocked English cricket, was spotted breaking cover outside what appears to be a cafe, holding a hot drink as he spoke on the phone.

Another snap showed the pundit, who was was wearing all black, in conversation with somebody else.

The ex-spinner alleged that Vaughan said there are "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it" to his ex-teammate and three other players during their time at Yorkshire.

The 47-year-old has strenuously denied he made the comment on two separate occasions, with his latest statement coming earlier this week.

"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,” Vaughan said.

"Anyone who has viewed the Sky footage of Yorkshire's pre-match huddle at the game in question in June 2009, and the interaction between the players, would find it hard to reconcile those scenes with the version of events that has been presented.

"Given my view that the inclusion of Asian players in the Yorkshire team was a very positive and welcome development, it is inconceivable I would have made the derogatory comment attributed to me."

He added: "It goes against everything that I have always believed; it goes against what I expressly said in my book only weeks later; and it goes against the Sky footage showing me specifically congratulating each of the players concerned.

"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 fully accept that perspectives differ, and I have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has gone through, but I hope everyone understands why I cannot allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be trashed unfairly."

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Two other players have come forward and backed Rafiq’s claims, one of which was England bowler Adil Rashid, and the other was Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.

Rashid, who was involved in the recently-concluded T20 World Cup, released a statement corroborating his former teammate's words.

The 33-year-old, who has played for Yorkshire since 2006, said: "Racism is a cancer in all walks of life and unfortunately in professional sports too, and is something which of course has to be stamped out.

"I wanted to concentrate as much as possible on my cricket and to avoid distractions to the detriment of the team but I can confirm Azeem Rafiq's recollection of Michael Vaughan's comments to a group of us Asian players.

"I'm encouraged by the fact a parliamentary committee seems to be trying to improve the situation, whether that's holding people accountable or getting changes made at an institutional level.

"These can only be positive developments. I will of course be more than happy to support any official efforts when the time is right. For now, though, these matters are of an intensely personal nature and I will not be commenting on them further."

The claims have already been supported by another former Yorkshire player in Rana Naved-ul-Hasan .

Before Rashid spoke out, Naved said he is "shocked" at Vaughan's denial of the allegation.

"Yes, yes, it’s true but he [Vaughan] has denied it," he said. "I’m very shocked about that, it’s true what Rafiq has alleged.

"He [Vaughan] was there, I was there and he used those words and he’s denied it. He definitely said it, I’m sure.

"I was really shocked—- why is he denying these things? He was a senior player who played for England as well and he’s a very responsible man, but he’s denying it.

"Rafiq is right. That’s why I’m backing him, he’s right. I’m not thinking, 'Oh I’m Asian, Rafiq’s also Asian so I’ll back him'. No — I’m telling you the truth."

Rafiq, who is of Pakistani descent and is a former captain of the England Under-19s, said in September 2020 that he had received racist abuse and was made to feel like an outsider at Yorkshire and that he had even contemplated suicide.

He appeared before MPs on Tuesday under parliamentary privilege to explain everything he had endured during his two spells playing for the county.

The cricketer claimed racist slurs within the club made his life 'hell', and frequent racist comments left the bowler feeling 'isolated and humiliated'.

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