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Racism In English Cricket

‘No winners in this process’ – Michael Vaughan issues statement after being cleared of using racist language

Michael Vaughan racism | Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan arrives to attend a Cricket Discipline Commission hearing, relating to allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, in London on March 2, 2023. - A hearing into the racism scandal at Yorkshire started yesterday, with ex-player Azeem Rafiq set to give evidence more than two years after he made damning allegations over his treatment by the English county cricket club. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Michael Vaughan has been cleared of an ECB charge that alleged he had used racist or discriminatory language during his time with Yorkshire.

The independent Cricket Discipline Commission had been investigating the charges against Vaughan dating back to 2009 after Azeem Rafiq accused him of directing the phrase: “There are too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that,” at four players of Asian origin during a team huddle.

In a public statement released on his social media accounts, Vaughan said: “I have never wanted to do anything that runs contrary to genuine efforts to clean up the game of cricket. I truly hope people can understand why, on a personal level, I could not just accept, or apologise for, something which I know I did not do.”


While saying that he was “sorry” for the “unacceptable, negative” experiences Rafiq went through at the club, Vaughan stated that “there is still a job to do” and that he will “remain keen to help bring about positive change in any way” that he can.

Vaughan came under the scanner in 2021 after Rafiq named him in a report on racism at Yorkshire CCC for his alleged comment in 2009. Further, two historical tweets he posted in 2010 and 2018 added to the clamour against him. He was consequently stood down from BT Sport and Test Match Special‘s coverage of the 2021/22 Ashes.

Vaughan added that the proceedings had taken a toll on him and his family to the extent that, at times, the process has “brought me to the brink of falling out of love with cricket”.

He also stated that the CDC proceedings were an “inappropriate, inadequate and backward step”, calling them “adversarial”, and inviting “claim and counterclaim”. He said that “there are no winners in the process” and there are better ways to move cricket positively forward.

A statement by CDC confirmed that the charges against Vaughan “were not proved”, reading that, while the “findings do not in any way undermine the wider assertions made by Azeem Rafiq”, the Panel is not satisfied “on the balance of probabilities that the words were spoken by Vaughan at that time”.

Several other charges were brought, against Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Richard Pyrah and Andrew Gale, all members of the Yorkshire playing or coaching staff. None chose to take part in the proceedings, and all have been found guilty on at least one charge, though the verdict makes clear that their decision to participate was not taken as an admission of guilt, and some of the charges against them were found to be not proved.

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