Michael Vaughan's statement in full: Star "categorically denies" Azeem Rafiq allegations backed by Adil Rashid

Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has issued a new statement denying he ever made an offensive remark to a group of Asian players at Yorkshire.

Michael Vaughan has issued a new statement on the Azeem Rafiq allegations.

His comments come after current England and Yorkshire player Adil Rashid came out in support of Azeem Rafiq's allegations against Mr Vaughan regarding comments made “to a group of us Asian players”.Rashid, who has played 199 times for his country and was a key part of the World Cup-winning side in 2019, has spent his whole career at Yorkshire but has previously kept his counsel on the racism crisis engulfing the club.

That changed on Monday morning, when he issued a statement via The Cricketer echoing Rafiq’s claims against the former England captain.

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Vaughan revealed earlier this month that he had been named in the independent investigation into Rafiq’s claims of institutional discrimination at Yorkshire but completely denies telling a group of team-mates of Asian ethnicity: “too many of your lot, we need to do something about it”.

Rashid, who helped take England to the semi-finals of the Twenty20 World Cup this month, wrote: “I wanted to concentrate as much as possible on my cricket and to avoid distractions to the detriment of the team but I can confirm Azeem Rafiq’s recollection of Michael Vaughan’s comments to a group of us Asian players.”

Michael Vaughan's statement in full

Following those remarks, Mr Vaughan issued the following statement on Monday afternoon.

“I categorically deny saying the words attributed to me by Azeem Rafiq and want to re-state this publicly because the ‘you lot’ comment simply never happened.

“Anyone who has viewed the Sky footage of Yorkshire’s pre-match huddle at the game in question in June 2009, and the interaction between the players, would find it hard to reconcile those scenes with the version of events that has been presented.

“I remember the match clearly because it was the first time in Yorkshire’s history that four players of Asian heritage had been selected in the same team. It was an important milestone for the county and it was also a moment of pride for me personally.

“At the time, I was a senior professional nearing the end of my career, but, having been the first non-Yorkshire born player signed by the county, it was also a sign of the progress that had been made during my time. I made a point of shaking all four players’ hands that day because I recognised it was a significant moment.

“In 2009, only weeks later, I wrote enthusiastically about this specific match in my autobiography, saying: ‘This is going to be the shape of things to come for Yorkshire, as many of our most promising players come from the Asian community and it ought to be a good thing for our cricket’.

“Given my view that the inclusion of Asian players in the Yorkshire team was a very positive and welcome development, it is inconceivable I would have made the derogatory comment attributed to me. It goes against everything that I have always believed; it goes against what I expressly said in my book only weeks later; and it goes against the Sky footage showing me specifically congratulating each of the players concerned.

“I have been lucky enough to enjoy a 30-year career in cricket, both as a player and a commentator, and I have never been accused of anything remotely similar. To be confronted with this allegation 11 years after it has supposed to have happened is the worst thing I have ever experienced.

“It is extremely upsetting that this completely false accusation has been made against me by a former team-mate, apparently supported by two other players. For some time, Ajmal Shahzad has been on record as saying that he never heard me say what has been suggested. I have been in contact with the six other players from that team and not one of them has any recollection of the remark being made.

“I fully accept that perspectives differ, and I have great sympathy for what Azeem Rafiq has gone through, but I hope everyone understands why I cannot allow this to go unchallenged or my reputation to be trashed unfairly.”

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