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6 Nov, 2021 10:16

‘I have nothing to hide’: Ex-England captain denies making ‘too many of you lot’ remark to Asians amid huge cricket racism scandal

‘I have nothing to hide’: Ex-England captain denies making ‘too many of you lot’ remark to Asians amid huge cricket racism scandal

One of the most successful players in the history of English cricket has strongly denied telling a Pakistani player at the center of a racism scandal that there are "too many of you lot" and "we need to do something about it.”

Top English club Yorkshire are said to be at risk of losing hundreds of millions of dollars after being stripped of international matches and lucrative sponsorship deals amid the escalating uproar over Azeem Rafiq.

The retired star has uncovered racial harassment during his time as a player, shaking the sport to its foundations in the UK and revealing one shocking incident in which a reference to him as a "P*ki" was played down as "banter".

An independent report into claims of discrimination, harassment and bullying made by Rafiq, who spent eight years with Yorkshire across two spells until 2018, has named Vaughan as one of the alleged perpetrators.

Also on rt.com ‘P*ki’ slurs were just ‘banter’? Famous cricket club under fire after investigation while alleged victim also accused of racism

The 47-year-old admitted his inclusion in the report in a newspaper column, explaining that he is accused of making a remark to Rafiq and fellow Asian players Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naveed before a 2009 game against Nottinghamshire.

Vaughan is accused of saying: "[There are] too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”

“I completely and categorically deny that I ever said those words,” Vaughan said in the Telegraph.

“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.

“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.”

Rafiq claimed in the report that Vaughan used his post-retirement position as an advisor to Yorkshire to make recommendations "which particularly were aimed at moving me out of the team."

"One such recommendation was for Kane Williamson to be signed, and [Vaughan] categorically said he bowls ‘off-spin’ really well, too.

“This is ridiculous as Kane Williamson is a batsman only. This comment about him bowling ‘off-spin’ was simply made in my presence to make me feel inferior.”

Vaughan, who played for the club between 1993 and 2009 and has been suspended from a BBC radio show, was unequivocal in his reaction.

“I absolutely deny that I ever said what he claims and that I recommended Kane Williamson for anything other than purely cricketing reasons," he insisted.

"But having heard what has come out in the last few days, I can see how his perspective, and [Rafiq's] experience, was clearly very different to how I saw things at Yorkshire at that time.

“I accept Yorkshire have dealt with this terribly. They will be honest enough to admit that. It is a good cricket club and it is close to my heart.

"I hope I can be part of the movement to rebrand the club and people will eventually look back on this time and say it changed for the better.

“The Yorkshire I love is a club that only wants to produce the best players and win games of cricket.

"Clearly there are issues in English cricket, spread wider than Yorkshire, about why so many young Asian players are not graduating through to the professional game.”

Yorkshire have been widely condemned for their perceived lack of action and are already thought to have taken a huge financial hit as a result of the uproar.

Club accounts for 2019 showed that international matches brought in around $13.5 million, but a number of high-profile showpieces, including a test between England and New Zealand and the visit of the Ashes, will now not be going ahead at Yorkshire.

Endorsements are said to be worth around $4 million annually to the club, but high-profile backers including Nike have already pulled out.

"I don't see how you can come out after an investigation and say, 'yes, a lot of the claims that the young man made, we found them to be true, but, we're not going to do anything, we're not going to take any action against anyone that was guilty of what the young man said'... I don't quite understand that," former West Indies cricketer Michael Holding told Sky.

"They have done nothing. They need to take one step further and suspend them immediately, and then at their end of their investigation they can say, 'OK, that one year that you got, that is your punishment'.

"Or, 'here's another year, or another two years for what we have found out'. They have done nothing. If there are no repercussions for bad actions, nothing changes."

Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, told Breakfast that the saga is "shameful".

"I am really hoping that this is an opportunity for change at the very top," the politician added.

"It's time for root-and-branch change. Let's hope we see that as soon as possible."

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