Michael Vaughan omitted from BBC team for Ashes to avoid ‘conflict of interest’

Michael Vaughan has been left out of the BBC team for the upcoming Ashes tour of Australia.

The BBC said it had taken the decision to avoid a potential “conflict of interest” in relation to ongoing allegations of racism.

The former England captain was stood down from his BBC radio show earlier this month after being implicated in allegations of racism made by his former team-mate Azeem Rafiq, which Vaughan denies.

A BBC spokesperson said: “While he is involved in a significant story in cricket, for editorial reasons we do not believe that it would be appropriate for Michael Vaughan to have a role in our Ashes team or wider coverage of the sport at the moment.

“We require our contributors to talk about relevant topics and his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest.”

Rafiq alleged Vaughan said “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” to him and a group of other Asian players before a Yorkshire match in 2009.

Azeem Rafiq
Cricket is engulfed in a racism scandal following Azeem Rafiq’s harrowing testimony to the DCMS select committee last week (House of Commons/PA).

In a statement issued earlier this month, Vaughan said he “categorically denied” the allegations made against him and described them as “completely false”.

Meanwhile Vaughan said today he was “very disappointed” by the BBC’s decision but confirmed he was still looking forward to heading to Australia as part of the Fox Sports team.


Vaughan wrote on his Instagram account: “Very disappointed not to be commentating for TMS on the Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues & friends, but looking forward to being behind the mic for @foxcricket in Australia.

“The issues facing cricket are bigger than any individual case and I want to be part of the solution, listening, educating myself and helping to make it a more welcoming sport for all.”

In a separate development, Scotland players Majid Haq and Qasim Sheikh have described Cricket Scotland as “institutionally racist”, and called for an investigation.

Haq, Scotland’s all-time leading wicket-taker, and Sheikh say they were treated differently to team-mates because of the colour of their skin.

Haq was sent home from the 2015 World Cup after sending a tweet implying he had been dropped for a match against Sri Lanka for race-related reasons.

He said he was “treated like a criminal” and added: “A lot of people have asked me if I think Cricket Scotland are institutionally racist – I think they are.”

Cricket Scotland told Sky Sports News it will thoroughly investigate Haq’s claims, and take the appropriate action.

The PA news agency understands the England and Wales Cricket Board’s 12-point action plan to combat racism is likely to be unveiled tomorrow afternoon.