The BBC has excluded Michael Vaughan from its Ashes coverage after being accused of making a racist remark more than a decade ago.
The company gave the boot to the former England captain for “editorial reasons” in a statement today – just weeks after it was launched on BBC Radio 5 Live.
A spokesperson said bosses “didn’t think it would be appropriate” for the cricket legend to cover the sport “yet”.
Vaughan has been accused of telling four players of Asian descent, “There are too many of you. We have to do something about it ‘in a county game in 2009.
Former teammate-turned-whistleblower Azeem Rafiq resurfaced this year and was backed by Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan.
But the last player in the squad – Ajmal Shahzad – said he didn’t remember the comments and Vaughan flatly denied the allegations.
The former England captain received the boot for “editorial reasons” by the company in a statement today
Despite this, the BBC still unceremoniously dumped him from his role in Test Match Special after joining him in 2009.
A BBC spokesperson said: “Although he is involved in an important story in cricket, for editorial reasons we don’t think it would be appropriate for Michael Vaughan to have a role in our Ashes team or broader coverage of the sport at the moment.
“We ask our contributors to speak on relevant topics and his involvement in Yorkshire history represents a conflict of interest.”
Vaughan reportedly made the comment ahead of the 2009 T20 game between Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.
The footage shows Vaughan shaking hands with four Yorkshire teammates – Rashid, Rafiq, Naved-ul-Hasan and Shahzad, all laughing.
Rafiq claimed Vaughan said, “There are too many of you. We have to do something about it.
Rashid and Naved-ul-Hasan said they supported the request, but former fashion designer Ajmal Shahzad said he did not hear the exchange he was present at.
Vaughan said: “I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to reaffirm it publicly because the ‘you all’ comment just never happened.
“It is extremely upsetting that this totally false accusation has been leveled against me by a former teammate, apparently supported by two other players.
“I have been in contact with the other six players on this team and none of them remember the remark that was made.”
Earlier this month Vaughan quit his live show on BBC Radio 5 after saying he was named in a report into the Yorkshire CCC’s treatment of Rafiq.
But he’s still set to comment on the Ashes this winter after receiving support from Australian rights holders Fox Sports, who will provide audio to BT Sport.
The 47-year-old has a long-term contract with Fox, which even paid him off last winter despite border restrictions preventing him from traveling to Australia.
The latest in Yorkshire’s anti-racism row comes as a commission examining racism in cricket said it was “inundated” with more than 2,000 responses in a fortnight.
The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC), established by the ECB in March, opened an anonymous online investigation on November 9.
He asked for people’s opinions on the culture of the game and its president, Cindy Butts, said there had already been a huge response.
She said: “Since launching Part 1 of our Call for Evidence, we have been inundated with responses.
“Over 2,000 people across the country have come forward to share their experiences both through the survey and also by contacting the ICEC directly. We anticipate that more and more people will come forward.
“We continue to urge anyone who has experienced discrimination, whether it be sexism, elitism or racism, to respond to our call for evidence so that we can examine the state of fairness in the cricket.”
The Daily Mail reported that allegations of racism had been made at the ICEC regarding the 18 first class counties.
The Commission will produce a report next year on the basis of the evidence it receives.
Butts told the BBC earlier this month: “We will say what we have to say and not hesitate to really mirror cricket and say ‘this is what you look like.’ We will follow the evidence wherever we go. they will lead us.
Jahid Ahmed has become the latest former Essex player to claim he suffered racist abuse while playing for the club.
In an interview with The Cricketer, Ahmed said he concluded that Essex is “a world of white men where browns are strangers”.
The 35-year-old also claimed that his voice was mocked and imitated by players and some coaches and that he felt compelled to attend a team meeting in a pub during Ramadan.
The new development follows allegations made earlier this month by ex-Essex hitter Zoheb Sharif, who said he was the victim of racist abuse.
He said that included being called a “bomber” by his teammates after the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Another former Essex player, Maurice Chambers, has described how he was allegedly racially bullied for 10 years at the club.
He claimed this included having bananas thrown at him and frequently being subjected to racist jokes.
John Faragher resigned as president of Essex on November 11 following a claim he used racist language at a board meeting in 2017, which he firmly denied .
Yorkshire has been widely condemned for saying it would not discipline anyone despite a report that Rafiq had suffered “racial harassment and intimidation”.
Club president Roger Hutton and general manager Mark Arthur subsequently resigned.
On Monday, Yorkshire announced that 36 people had contacted their independent whistleblower hotline, initiated by President Lord Kamlesh Patel, within a week.
The sport has been engulfed in the racism scandal after Rafiq’s claim to a parliamentary committee last week, outlining allegations of racist abuse he allegedly suffered.
But Rafiq has since been exposed for writing anti-Semitic tweets and allegedly sending “scary” Whatsapp messages to a teenage girl.
In the first case, the 19-year-old wrote: “Hahaha, he’s Jewish. The problems still go after my 2nds. ‘ He later added, “How bad is it? Only Jews do that kind of bullshit.
Rafiq told MailOnline last week: “I spoke to Atif today and apologized to him for what I said. He was very understanding.
“I said I was incredibly sorry as I am to anyone who may have been offended. I spoke to Atif on the phone and he accepted my apologies.
A day later, his messages to the teenager surfaced, in which he spoke of kissing her and inviting her to dinner on a Manchester-Dubai flight in 2015.
Gayathri Ajith, who was 16, claimed to have received the messages from the then 24-year-old former Yorkshire cricketer in December 2015.
According to the messages, Mr. Rafiq said to the girl, “Do you know what I wanted to do on the plane?”
The message continued: “I want to grab you, push you against the wall and kiss you.” Ms Ajith also alleges that Mr Rafiq asked her to join him for dinner in Dubai.
She said she told the cricketer that she was 17 to “look a little older” so she could join him having a vodka and a Coke on the plane.
After receiving the messages, Ms Ajith replied: “Do you realize that I am only 17 years old? ”
It is alleged that Mr. Rafiq replied: “Does that mean that it is not permissible to want to kiss me… would you have let me kiss you?”
Ms Ajith, who is now 22, said the messages sounded “scary”. Responding to the proposal, Ms Ajith replied, “How do I know that you are not an absolute pervert?”
A spokesperson for Rafiq’s legal team said: “This was asked of us late on a Friday night. We need to look into this, so we can’t say more just yet.
Her legal team has since confirmed that she is investigating the case, but declined to comment further when pressed by MailOnline.