Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan was cleared by a disciplinary panel on 31 March for making racist remarks towards a group of Yorkshire teammates of Asian ethnicity in 2009, the latest step in a scandal that has rocked the English game. But a cloud has left.
However, other former players were found to have used racist or discriminatory language in a scandal that Azeem Rafiq – a former Yorkshire player – said publicly in 2020 that he victim of caste discrimination and twice bullied into the most successful club in English cricket between 2008–18.
Among his allegations, which were recounted in a tearful testimony in the British Parliament and which caused Yorkshire to lose sponsors and the right to host international matches for a while, Rafiq accused Vaughan of attacking Rafiq and other teammates of Asian ethnicity. Accused of saying to, “A lot of you guys were” A lot, we need to have a word about that. Vaughan is alleged to have made the remark during a Twenty20 match.
Vaughan categorically declined to comment, and a charge against him issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board was dismissed after an independent commission refused to hear Vaughan and other Yorkshire players accused of historic racist and discriminatory remarks. published his findings.
“On the balance of probabilities the panel is not satisfied that these words were spoken by MV (Michael Vaughan) at that time and in the particular circumstances,” read part of the 82-page judgment covering the entire case.
Vaughan, who captained England’s Ashes-winning side in 2005 and is one of the most high-profile figures in English cricket, said on Twitter that the past few years have been an “incredibly difficult period in my life”.
“At times, this process has brought me to the brink of falling out of love with cricket,” he wrote, adding that he hoped “an inclusive healing process can now begin” for English cricket.
Yorkshire launched an investigation in 2020 in the wake of Rafiq’s allegations of what he called “institutional racism” at the club, which left him feeling suicidal. Yorkshire, a team in the north of England that is a record 33-time winner of the County Championship, later apologized that Rafiq was the victim of “racial harassment and bullying”.
A report commissioned by Yorkshire upheld seven of Rafiq’s 43 claims, but the full version of the report was not published and did not lead to any of the club’s hierarchy facing disciplinary action.
As a result, the ECB decided to issue slanderous charges against seven individuals – including Vaughan – with prior connections to the Yorkshire Cricket Club. The club was also accused.
Vaughan was the only person to appear in person at a Cricket Disciplinary Commission hearing in London in early March.
In his statement on Friday, Vaughan said the verdict “should 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 more generally.”
And the CDC said the findings “in no way diminish” the extensive claims made by Rafiq, “many of which have been certainly corroborated by the admissions of the YCCC (Yorkshire) and certain individuals.”
This was reflected by the panel upholding some of the charges issued by the ECB against other former Yorkshire players who were accused of using racist and/or discriminatory language during their time at the club – Tim Bresnan, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Gale, Richard Pyra, and John Blaine. They were found liable for breaching an ECB directive, including conduct prejudicial to the interests of cricket and bringing the game into disrepute, and had 14 days to appeal against the CDC’s decision.
Another, former England batsman Gary Ballance, had earlier accepted the allegations against him.
Sanctions will be handed down at a later date.
In a Twitter post responding to the panel’s findings, Rafiq underlined that charges against seven of the eight defendants had been upheld and that previous inquiries had found he had been the subject of bullying and racial harassment in Yorkshire.
He wrote, “The issue is never about individuals, but about the sport as a whole.” “Cricket needs to understand the extent of its problems and address them.
“Hopefully the structure of sport can now be rebuilt and institutional racism is ended for good. It is time to reflect, learn and implement change.”
The scandal led to an enormous amount of soul-searching in English cricket – mainly regarding its record on inclusivity and its locker-room culture – and a drastic change in Yorkshire’s leadership.
After several improvements and replacement of individuals in key roles at the club, it was reinstated as an international venue.
The ECB created an anti-discrimination unit in the wake of the scandal, reviewed dressing-room culture in the England men’s and women’s teams and made a financial commitment of £25 million (then $33.3 million) over five years to improve operations Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Improving boardroom diversity was one of the goals, along with helping people from diverse backgrounds progress in professional teams.
ECB chairman Richard Thompson said that Rafiq “exposed a side of our game that no one should have to experience.”
“Given the nature of these cases,” Thompson said, “they have taken a clear toll on everyone involved. Now should be a time for reconciliation where, as a sport, we can collectively learn and heal from the wounds.” fix it and make sure nothing like this happens again.”