Michael Vaughan cleared of using racist language before Yorkshire T20 match

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Michael Vaughan cleared of using racist language before Yorkshire T20 match

Michael Vaughan has been cleared of using racist language towards a group of Asian players at Yorkshire in 2009 after a panel found “significant inconsistencies” in how key witnesses recalled the alleged remark.

The former England captain first posted on Instagram to announce that a Cricket Discipline Commission panel had cleared him of the charge.

The charge related to words he was alleged to have used to Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Ajmal Shahzad as the team broke from a pre-match huddle before a T20 Cup match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on June 22, 2009.

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The CDC panel’s decision was later published on the England and Wales Cricket Board website, and the panel highlighted discrepancies in the precise wording of the second half of the phrase Vaughan was alleged to have used in the evidence given by Rafiq and Rashid to the hearing, which took place in public earlier this month.

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.

“Accordingly, the first limb of the ECB’s charge against MV is not proved.”

Addressing whether Vaughan had used the phrase “there’s too many of you lot”, the panel said: “Having taken into account all the relevant evidence in respect of the second and alternative limb of the charge, the panel is not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that these words were spoken by MV (Vaughan) at the time and in the specific circumstances alleged.

“Accordingly, the second limb of the ECB’s charge against MV is not proved.”

The panel added: “These findings do not in any way undermine the wider assertions made by AZR (Rafiq), many of which of course have been confirmed by the admissions of both YCCC and certain individuals, as well as by other findings of this panel.”

Vaughan was one of seven individuals formerly connected to Yorkshire who had initially been charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board with using racist and/or discriminatory language.

Gary Ballance had already admitted a charge of using racist and/or discriminatory language prior to the public hearing being held earlier this month.

The CDC panel found it was proved that Vaughan’s former England team-mate Matthew Hoggard had used the term ‘Rafa the Kaffir’ towards Rafiq, though was not satisfied he had created it.

However, it was satisfied that viewed objectively the words used were racist and/or discriminatory.

Hoggard had also denied using the term ‘P***’ towards Rafiq and other Asian players but admitted being part of general group chats when it was used. He also said the word had been widely used by players of Asian ethnicity to refer to themselves.

That part of the charge was also found proved, with the panel noting: “The fact that the words were commonly used can sensibly provide no defence.”

The panel did not find Hoggard’s term of the phrase “you lot” to be discriminatory but did find proven the section of the charge concerning the use of the term “token black man” towards Ismail Dawood at Yorkshire. Hoggard had admitted that charge, but on the same basis as the element related to use of the word “P***”.

Tim Bresnan
Tim Bresnan was found guilty of using a racist term (Mike Egerton/PA)

Tim Bresnan was also charged with using racist and/or discriminatory language. The elements of the charge linked to the use of “the brothers” and “you lot” towards Asian players was not found proven, but the section related to the use of the term “fit P***” was found proven.

John Blain was found to have used the term “P***” during his time at Yorkshire in 2010 and 2011, while former Yorkshire player and head coach Andrew Gale was found to have used the term “P***” and the nickname ‘Rafa the Kaffir’.

The panel did not find Richard Pyrah’s use of the phrase “you lot” was discriminatory, but the element of the charge related to the phrase “fit P***” towards Asian women was found proven.

Hoggard, Bresnan, Blain, Gale and Pyrah had withdrawn from the process prior to the public hearing but the charges against them were heard in their absence.

Yorkshire had also admitted four charges prior to the hearing, including one related to a failure to address systemic use of racist and/or discriminatory language over a prolonged period.

Rafiq released a statement which read: “Charges against seven of the eight defendants, including the widespread use of the ‘P’ word, have been upheld by the CDC today. This comes in addition to the other reports, panels and inquiries that found I and others suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq
Azeem Rafiq (James Manning/PA)

“The issue has never been about individuals but the game as a whole. Cricket needs to understand the extent of its problems and address them. Hopefully, the structures of the game can now be rebuilt and institutionalised racism ended for good. It’s time to reflect, learn and implement change.”

Vaughan’s solicitor Paul Lunt told the PA news agency: “It’s no secret that (Michael) has had some dark days and some tough times.

“It’s just great to be able to get to a position where there is closure now and he and cricket and everybody concerned is able to try and move forward.”

ECB chair Richard Thompson said: “Given the nature of these cases, they have taken a clear toll on everyone involved. There now needs to be a time of reconciliation where, as a game, we can collectively learn and heal the wounds and ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again.

“The decisions published today are the findings of an independent CDC Panel, reaching its own decisions based on the evidence before it, and it is now for the panel to determine what sanctions are appropriate where charges have been admitted or upheld. Having only received the decisions today, we will need time to consider them carefully.”