Michael Vaughan cleared of charge of using racist language while at Yorkshire

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Michael Vaughan has been cleared of an England and Wales Cricket Board charge of using racist and/or discriminatory language during his time at Yorkshire.

The former England captain was alleged to have used the term “you lot” towards a group of four Yorkshire players of Asian ethnicity prior to a T20 match in June 2009, including Azeem Rafiq who first spoke out in 2020 about the discrimination he suffered across two stints with the county.

However, Vaughan wrote on his Instagram account on Friday morning: “The dismissal of the specific charge that concerned me takes nothing away from Azeem’s own lived experiences.”

Vaughan had always denied using the phrase towards Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Ajmal Shahzad as the Yorkshire team broke from their huddle at Trent Bridge.

He appeared in person at a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing which was held in public in London earlier this month to defend himself.

Vaughan’s statement, subsequently issued through his solicitors, began: “It has been both difficult and upsetting to hear about the painful experiences which Azeem has described over the past three years.

“The outcome of these CDC proceedings must not be allowed to detract from the core message that there can be no place for racism in the game of cricket, or in society generally.”

Azeem Rafiq, pictured, had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying during his time at Yorkshire according to an independent investigation commissioned by the club
Azeem Rafiq, pictured, had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying during his time at Yorkshire, according to an independent investigation commissioned by the club (James Manning/PA)

“I told him then that I am sorry for his unacceptable, negative experiences at the club I love and in the sport I love. We had what I thought was a really positive and constructive discussion.

“We shook hands with a shared intention to work together in order to create positive change in cricket. For my part, nothing has altered in that respect.

“There is still a job to do and I remain keen to help bring about positive change in any way that I can.”

“One of many reasons why I hold that view is because CDC proceedings are adversarial. They invite claim and counterclaim. They invite those involved to accuse each other of untruths or of lying.

“The inevitable consequence of the ECB’s decision-making was that three former team-mates, one of whom is a current England international player (Rashid), were pitted against one another in what later became a public forum for the world at large to see.”

Rashid had appeared as a witness at the hearing to corroborate Rafiq’s allegation concerning the “you lot” phrase.

TV commentator and pundit Michael Vaughan was captain of England's Test team from 2003-8
TV commentator and pundit Michael Vaughan was captain of England’s Test team from 2003-8 (Jason O’Brien/PA)

The CDC panel’s decision on Vaughan stated: “There are significant inconsistencies in the evidence of both primary witnesses, AZR (Rafiq) and ADR (Rashid), in this regard.

“These are recognised by the ECB in the manner in which it closed its case.

“Considering all the relevant evidence on this first limb of the charge (that the conduct in question occurred), the panel is not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that this form of words was said.

The panel said it became clear in cross-examination of Rafiq that different versions of the second half of the phrase Vaughan was alleged to have said had been used at different times in the proceedings.

The phrase was variously alleged to have ended “we need to do something about it” or “we need to have a word about that”.

Rafiq said in cross-examination he genuinely remembered it to be “we need to have a word about that” but added “clearly there are discrepancies”.

The panel added: “Moreover AZR (Rafiq) was commendably straightforward when he stated that ‘I have got to take responsibility for any inaccuracies’.

“Given the specific nature of the allegation, these inconsistencies are significant, not least since these are matters which are being recalled some 11 years and more later. Moreover they also have an impact upon the clarity with which AZR states that he recalls the matter.”

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