London, March 31 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan has been cleared by the Cricket Discipline Committee (CDC) of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) over the alleged use of racist language towards a group of Asian-origin players ahead of a match for Yorkshire in 2009.
Vaughan, the 2005 Ashes-winning captain was alleged to have said “too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that”, while referring to a group of four players of South Asian ethnicity in Yorkshire, including Azeem Rafiq, who said in 2020 that he had been a victim of racial harassment and bullying during his time at the club.
In an 82-page verdict, the CDC panel said that the ECB’s contention that Vaughan’s comment towards the four Yorkshire players of Asian heritage before a T20 fixture at Trent Bridge had not been proven “on the balance of probabilities”.
“It has been both difficult and upsetting to hear about the painful experiences which Azeem has described over the past three years. The outcome of these CDC proceedings must not be allowed to detract from the core message that there can be no place for racism in the game of cricket, or society generally.”
“At times, this process has brought me to the brink of falling out of love with cricket. I won’t address here the toll that it has taken on me and my family, but I have no doubt that it has also been incredibly stressful for all of the others concerned. I hope that for them and for cricket, an inclusive healing process can now begin.”
“Now that the ECB’s charge against me has been dismissed, I want to thank the panel for their careful attention in very difficult circumstances and to thank all of those who have given me their support during an incredibly difficult period in my life,” wrote Vaughan in a statement posted on his social media accounts.
While adding that he would be committing himself to combat racism in cricket, Vaughan, 48, also expressed that he was critical of the ECB’s disciplinary process.
“Particularly with an issue such as this, CDC proceedings were an inappropriate, inadequate and backwards step. One of many reasons why I hold that view is because CDC proceedings are adversarial. They invite claim and counter-claim.”
“They invite those involved to accuse each other of untruths or of lying. The inevitable consequence of the ECB’s decision-making was that three former teammates, one of whom is a current England international player, were pitted against one another in what later became a public forum for the world at large to see.”
The ECB further said that former players Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard and Richard Pyrah have been found liable for a breach of ECB Directive 3.3 for their alleged use of racist and/or discriminatory language.