Michael Vaughan stands down from BBC role amid Yorkshire racism row

·2 min read
Michael Vaughan stands down from BBC role amid Yorkshire racism row - GETTY IMAGES
Michael Vaughan stands down from BBC role amid Yorkshire racism row - GETTY IMAGES

Michael Vaughan temporarily stepped down from Test Match Special on Monday, almost two weeks after he was charged over the Yorkshire racism scandal.

England’s 2005 Ashes-winning captain, who is also a columnist for Telegraph Sport, took the decision following the conclusion of the country’s Test series with New Zealand.

Vaughan was among seven former or current Yorkshire players charged by the England & Wales Cricket Board earlier this month over accusations made by Azeem Rafiq and others.

He has categorically denied making a racially-insensitive remark to Rafiq and other Muslim players when they were team-mates 13 years ago.

Vaughan said: “On numerous occasions, I have put on record my views on the issues concerning YCCC.

“It is always regrettable when commentary on matters off the field take the focus away from what’s happening on the field. In view of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, I have taken the decision to step back from my work with the BBC for the time being.

“The key driver for this is my concern for the well-being of my family members and my wish to protect their family life. Stepping back temporarily is also in the interests of the game and I hope that it will minimise any difficulties for my work colleagues.”

A BBC spokesperson added: “Following conversations with Michael Vaughan, we’ve accepted his decision to step away from our cricket coverage. This is a decision we respect and understand. Michael remains under contract to the BBC.”

It is the second time Vaughan will be absent from Test Match Special since the accusations against him first went public back in November.

The BBC took him off air at that time “for editorial reasons”, namely to avoid a “conflict of interest” during its Ashes coverage when it came to discussing the Yorkshire racism scandal.

It bowed to pressure to bring Vaughan back by saying the following month it expected to “work with Michael again in the future” and he duly made his return in March.

This month’s charges saw the BBC review its position but it chose to stand by him pending the outcome of the case against him later this year.

On Monday, it emerged the BBC Sport’s BAME Group and 5 Live Diversity Group had written a letter in opposition to that decision.

Barbara Slater, the corporation’s director of sport, yesterday sent an email to staff in response which read: “I would like to assure everyone that the decision making process has always considered the impact it would have on colleagues – alongside a range of other factors.”