Yorkshire Cricket racism hearing: Michael Vaughan says claims are 'word against word'

Michael Vaughan appears at ECB hearing
Michael Vaughan appearing at the hearing in London. Credit: PA

Michael Vaughan's lawyer has said allegations of racism against the former England captain are "word against word".

Vaughan faces charges relating to the use of discriminatory language following claims of institutional racism by the former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.

Fellow former Yorkshire cricketers Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale and Richard Pyrah are also charged.

After the England and Wales Cricket Board set out the cases against Hoggard, Bresnan and Blain on Wednesday, the case against Vaughan was the first to be heard by the Cricket Discipline Commission panel on day two of the hearing in London.

ECB lawyer Jane Mulcahy repeated an allegation that Vaughan remarked about four Asian players, including Rafiq, that "there's too many of you lot" before a T20 match in 2009.

Mulcahy said the ECB contends that Vaughan made the alleged comment and therefore "caused prejudice or disrepute to cricket".

Vaughan's lawyer then confirmed the 48-year-old denies the charge and said the burden of proof is on the ECB.

The hearing follows claims made by the former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq, centre. Credit: PA

Christopher Stoner KC said: "Mr Vaughan cannot recall precisely what he said but is clear the words used and in the context used are unacceptable.

"Mr Vaughan is adamant he did not use them.

"This panel will only have one contemporaneous document and one broadly contemporaneous document. The contemporaneous document is Sky footage where words are said to be spoken where the camera was close to players and broadcast.

"We say the entirety of that footage is inconsistent with anything untoward being said. The broadly contemporaneous document is Mr Vaughan's autobiography and the fact it makes reference to that game and that the four Asian players who played is the start of things to come and good for Yorkshire cricket.

"The alleged comment was not said at the time and including at the end of the game where it would quite obviously have been discussed even between friends, even if it did not become formally reported.

"It was not in fact mentioned by anyone for a period of 11 years. Now 14 years after the event, it is word against word."

Current England player Adil Rashid was then called as a witness via a video link from Bangladesh.

Stoner asked Rashid if he could remember the result of the match in question at Trent Bridge. Rashid could not.

Asked how many wickets he took, Rashid replied "zero". Asked if he could remember what the weather was like that day, Rashid said he could not.

Vaughan, who arrived at the International Arbitration Centre earlier on Thursday, is the only one of the individuals charged by the ECB for bringing the game into disrepute set to attend the CDC hearing over the next week.

Rafiq, 32, first spoke out about his experience of racial harassment and bullying across two spells with the county in 2020.

The ECB brought charges against seven individuals, and Yorkshire, in June last year, with Rafiq succeeding in having the case dealt with in public by an independent panel.

Another player, Gary Ballance, has already admitted a charge related to the use of racially discriminatory language. Yorkshire have also admitted four charges.

At Wednesday's hearing involving the cases against Hoggard, Bresnan and Blain, Mulcahy had said the "systemic use of racist or discriminatory language at Yorkshire during the relevant period" made it "more likely than not" that racist language was used by all three.

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