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"Inconceivable and completely false" - Vaughan issues new racism denial

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has "categorically" denied fresh allegations of histor...



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"Inconceivable and completely false" - Vaughan issues new racism denial

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has "categorically" denied fresh allegations of historical racist comments to teammates.

Yorkshire and England spin bowler Adil Rashid became the latest player to claim he heard Vaughan tell a group of four Asian players at the county in 2009, "there’s too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”.

Pakistan's Rana Naved-ul-Hasan - who was with Yorkshire at the time - also backed Azeem Rafiq's original allegation against Vaughan.

In a statement released to The Cricketer, Rashid, says he'd help with any investigation.

But Vaughan has vigorously denied the claims, saying "it is inconceivable I would have made the derogatory comment attributed to me".

Last week saw Rafiq receive a six-figure sum in damages from Yorkshire County Cricket Club in a racial discrimination and harassment case. A string of high-profile resignations from the club have followed, including chair Roger Hutton and CEO Mark Arthur.

Rafiq is due to appear this week in front of a UK Parliament digital, culture, media and sport select committee hearing.

But Vaughan has described his involvement in the scandal as "the worst thing I have ever experienced".

He wrote, "It goes against everything that I have always believed; it goes against what I expressly said in my book only weeks later; and it goes against the Sky footage showing me specifically congratulating each of the players concerned."

Vaughan added, "It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players. For some time, Ajmal Shahzad has been on record as saying that he never heard me say what has been suggested.

"I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made."

Michael Vaughan statement: 

I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the 'you lot' comment simply never happened.

Anyone who has viewed the Sky footage of Yorkshire's pre-match huddle at the game in question in June 2009, and the interaction between the players, would find it hard to reconcile those scenes with the version of events that has been presented.

I remember the match clearly because it was the first time in Yorkshire's history that four players of Asian heritage had been selected in the same team. It was an important milestone for the county and it was also a moment of pride for me personally.

At the time, I was a senior professional nearing the end of my career, but, having been the first non-Yorkshire born player signed by the county, it was also a sign of the progress that had been made during my time.

I made a point of shaking all four players' hands that day because I recognised it was a significant moment.

In 2009, only weeks later, I wrote enthusiastically about this specific match in my autobiography, saying: This is going to be the shape of things to come for Yorkshire, as many of our most promising players come from the Asian community and it ought to be a good thing for our cricket. 

Given my view that the inclusion of Asian players in the Yorkshire team was a very positive and welcome development, it is inconceivable I would have made the derogatory comment attributed to me.

It goes against everything that I have always believed; it goes against what I expressly said in my book only weeks later; and it goes against the Sky footage showing me specifically congratulating each of the players concerned.

I have been lucky enough to enjoy a 30-year career in cricket, both as a player and a commentator, and I have never been accused of anything remotely similar. To be confronted with this allegation 11 years after it has supposed to have happened is the worst thing I have ever experienced.

It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players. For some time, Ajmal Shahzad has been on record as saying that he never heard me say what has been suggested.

I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made.

I fully accept that perspectives differ, and I have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has gone through, but I hope everyone understands why I cannot allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be trashed unfairly. 

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Adil Rashid Azeem Rafiq Cricket Michael Vaughan Racism

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