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Azeem Rafiq: Michael Vaughan denies racism allegations against him made by former Yorkshire team-mate

Michael Vaughan strongly denies the allegation from Azeem Rafiq that he made a racist comment towards him and other Asian players before a Yorkshire match in 2009; This article contains comments some readers may find upsetting

Image: Michael Vaughan says he was named in the Azeem Rafiq racism report but has nothing to hide

Michael Vaughan has "completely and categorically" denied Azeem Rafiq's allegation that he was racist towards him and other Asian Yorkshire team-mates in 2009.

The former England captain has revealed that in December 2020 he was asked to talk to the independent panel investigating Rafiq's allegations of racism at Yorkshire.

Vaughan, who had no idea why he was invited to speak to the panel until hearing the allegations, strongly denies these claims and says "I have nothing to hide".

Image: Vaughan and Rafiq were team-mates for the final two years of his spell at Yorkshire

"The night before I was due to give evidence, out of the blue, I was hit with the news that Rafiq was alleging that in 2009, when I was still a player and before a Yorkshire match against Nottinghamshire, I had said to Rafiq and two other Asian players as we walked onto the field together that there are "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it," Vaughan wrote in the Telegraph.

"This hit me very hard. It was like being struck over the head with a brick. I have been involved in cricket for 30 years and never once been accused of any remotely similar incident or disciplinary offence as a player or commentator. That the allegation came completely out of the blue and more than a decade after it was alleged to have happened made it all the more difficult to process.

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Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain discuss the fallout from the Azeem Rafiq investigation following allegations of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

"I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words. I responded to the panel by saying I was gobsmacked and that my professional legal advice was that I could not appear before a panel having had just a few hours' notice of such serious claims made against me.

"It was 11 years after the alleged event. Nothing at all was raised or said at the time of the game in question. It was not mentioned at the time or at any stage over the next 11 years until the night before I was asked to speak to the inquiry.

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"I have nothing to hide. The 'you lot' comment never happened. Anyone trying to recollect words said 10 years ago will be fallible but I am adamant those words were not used. If Rafiq believes something was said at the time to upset him then that is what he believes. It is difficult to comment on that except to say it hurts me hugely to think I potentially affected someone. I take it as the most serious allegation ever put in front of me and I will fight to the end to prove I am not that person."

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