Azeem Rafiq: Former England captain Michael Vaughan opens up on racism allegations, denies wrongdoing

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has “completely and categorically” denied allegations that he was racist towards Azeem Rafiq and other Yorkshire teammates in 2009.

Writing in The Telegraph, Vaughan revealed that he was asked to talk to the independent panel investigating the Rafiq case in December 2020 but did not know why until only hours beforehand, when he heard the allegations.

Vaughan wrote: “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 such serious claims made against me.

“It was 11 years after the alleged event. Nothing at all was raised or said at the time of the game in question. It was not mentioned at the time or at any stage over the next 11 years until the night before I was asked to speak to the inquiry.

“I have nothing to hide. The ‘you lot’ comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said 10 years ago will be fallible but I am adamant those words were not used.

“If Rafiq believes something was said at the time to upset him then that is what he believes. It is difficult to comment on that except to say it hurts me hugely to think I potentially affected someone. I take it as the most serious allegation ever put in front of me and I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person.”

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