The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has removed former England captain Michael Vaughan from its commentary panel ahead of the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia, citing a “conflict of interest”. The BBC’s decision comes in the wake of the Yorkshire racism row that rocked England cricket.
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Reacting to the news, Vaughan on Wednesday called the BBC’s decision “disappointing”.
“Very disappointed not to comment for TMS on The Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues and friends,” Vaughan wrote on Instagram. In the same post, the 47-year-old confirmed that he would go behind the mic for Australian broadcasters Fox Sports for a five-match Test series between the oldest cricket rivals.
Vaughan also stressed that these issues are bigger than “any individual matter” before he wants to be part of the solution by “listening” and “educating”, not the other way around.
Vaughan had been with the BBC since 2009 and was removed from their radio show last month after former Pakistan-born Yorkshire player Azim Rafiq named him on charges of racism. According to reports, Vaughan referred to Rafiq and other Yorkshire players of Asian descent as “you lot” during a county match in 2009. Rafiq’s statement was also supported by two former Yorkshire players.
On Wednesday, in a press release, the BBC confirmed Vaughan’s departure from its commentary panel, citing “editorial reasons”.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Vaughan denied the racism allegations leveled against him, saying the “you lot” comment never happened.
Maintaining his innocence, he had even stated that he has been in contact with six players from Yorkshire’s 2009 county team and none of them remember him for making the said remarks.
During a parliamentary committee hearing about the Yorkshire racism incident last week, Rafiq broke down as he admitted that his cricketing career in Britain was cut short by racism.