Yorkshire cricket racism claims against Michael Vaughan ‘not proven’

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has been cleared “on the balance of probabilities” of using racist language towards former Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq.

Vaughan was accused of saying “there’s too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that” to Rafiq and three other Yorkshire Asian players in 2009.

But the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) panel found the England and Wales Cricket Board’s case against Vaughan was not proved.

The panel said it was “not satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that the words were said by Vaughan “at the time and in the specific circumstances alleged”.

It added its findings “do not in any way undermine the wider assertions” made by Rafiq, who said English cricket is “institutionally racist”.

The panel concluded: “This is not a case which necessitated a conclusion from the panel that anyone has lied or acted out of malice.

“Far from it, the panel had to consider whether the case as presented to it by the ECB, in light of all the evidence, was sufficiently accurate and reliable, on the balance of probabilities, to rule out mistake. It was not.”

Rafiq alleged Vaughan made the comment to him, Adil Rashid, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Ajmal Shahzad before a match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge on 22 June 2009.

Vaughan – in a statement posted on social media today – said: “It has been both difficult and upsetting to hear about the painful experiences which Azeem has described over the past three years.

“The outcome of these CDC proceedings must not be allowed to detract from the core message that there can be no place for racism in the game of cricket, or in society generally.

“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.

“At times, this process has brought me to the brink of falling out of love with cricket.”

Law firm Brabners had represented Vaughan. Paul Lunt, head of litigation, said: “While circumstances surrounding these proceedings have uncovered some uncomfortable truths for the game of cricket, we’re pleased to have played a role in addressing the narrow and specific charge against Michael, which we have regarded as misguided from the outset.

“This has been arguably the most complex issue we have worked on in recent years – due to the nature of the process, evidence gathering and the time elapsed since alleged events occurred.

“So it’s particularly rewarding for the team to have been able to preserve our client’s reputation during what has been a challenging and difficult period for all concerned.”