BBC drop Michael Vaughan from Ashes coverage amid racism row

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Broadcaster says “his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest”

The BBC has dropped Michael Vaughan from its coverage of the upcoming Ashes series in Australia after he was named in the Azeem Rafiq racism probe.

Vaughan, the former England captain turned commentator, was stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live show earlier this month after it emerged that he was the subject of a complaint by Rafiq in Yorkshire’s report into Rafiq’s allegations of racism at the club.

On Wednesday, the BBC released a statement saying that Vaughan would also not be involved in its “wider coverage of the sport at the moment”.

“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,” the BBC statement said.

“We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest.”

Rafiq alleged that Vaughan had noted the inclusion of four players of Asian heritage in the Yorkshire side playing a county fixture against Nottinghamshire in 2009 and said: “There are too many of you lot; we need to do something about it.” Vaughan has denied the allegations against him.

Appearing before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing last week, Rafiq said: “I think it’s important on Michael [Vaughan] that we don’t make it all about Michael. It was a long time ago, Michael might not remember it as I said about earlier because it doesn’t mean anything. But three of us remember it.”

Vaughan joined the BBC’s Test Match Special radio team as a summariser in 2009. Responding in a post on Instagram, he admitted he was “very disappointed” at the decision, and would “miss working with great colleagues & friends”.

However, he confirmed that he will still be a part of the Ashes coverage in his TV role with Fox Cricket in Australia, which will also be heard in the UK, following BT Sport’s decision not to send a bespoke commentary team.

“The issues facing cricket are bigger than any individual case,” Vaughan aded. “I want to be part of the solution, listening, educating myself and helping to make it a more welcoming sport for all.”

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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