Cricket-BBC drop ex-England captain Vaughan from Ashes coverage amid racism allegations

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FILE PHOTO: Ashes 2019 - First Test - England v Australia

(Reuters) -Former England captain Michael Vaughan will play no part in the BBC's coverage of the upcoming Ashes series after being named in the racism controversy involving former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq, the broadcaster said on Wednesday.

Rafiq alleged https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/englands-rashid-backs-up-rafiq-over-racism-allegation-2021-11-15 that Vaughan told him and two other players of Asian origin that there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it" before a match in 2009. Vaughan has strongly denied the accusation.

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

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

Vaughan said he was disappointed with the decision but added the problems afflicting the sport were bigger than his plight.

"Very disappointed not to be commentating for TMS (Test Match Special) on the Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues and friends, but looking forward to being behind the mic for @foxcricket in Australia," he wrote on Instagram.

"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."

The 47-year-old, who has been an analyst with the BBC since 2009, was dropped from a radio show https://cn.reuters.com/article/cricket-england-yor-idINL1N2RW214 by the broadcaster earlier this month after the allegations came to light.

The five-test Ashes series between England and hosts Australia begins in Brisbane on Dec. 8.

The racism scandal https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/asian-heritage-cricketers-insulted-humiliated-yorkshire-rafiq-says-2021-11-16 that has engulfed English cricket also had former players at Essex https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/third-former-essex-player-alleges-he-suffered-racist-abuse-2021-11-23 saying that they suffered racist abuse at the club.

One of Essex's principal sponsors - training and skills provider Seetec - have now suspended ties with the team "with immediate effect."

"Any form of racism should not be tolerated. We encourage sports clubs to work with their local community to celebrate diversity and work at all levels to root out racism, wherever it manifests," a spokesperson for Seetec told Reuters.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Shrivathsa Sridhar)

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