Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has been cleared of using racist language before a 2009 match for county club Yorkshire, according to a report from the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC). The allegations centred around Vaughan’s use of the term “you lot” when referring to a group of four players of South Asian ethnicity, including Pakistan-born Azeem Rafiq. The CDC was “not satisfied on the balance of probabilities” that Vaughan used the words he was alleged to have used. However, the report added that its findings “do not in any way undermine the wider assertions” made by Rafiq, who accused English cricket of being “institutionally racist”.
In a statement on social media, Vaughan thanked the CDC panel for “their careful attention in very difficult circumstances”. He also acknowledged the pain experienced by Rafiq over the past three years. Yorkshire previously admitted that Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying during his time at the club, but no one was disciplined. This decision was criticised, and Yorkshire was briefly stripped of the right to host international matches at Headingley.
The scandal led to the departure of senior boardroom figures and the dismissal of 16 members of the club’s coaching and backroom staff. Charges were also upheld against five other former players and coaches, including England Test stars Tim Bresnan and Matthew Hoggard, in relation to the use of racist and/or discriminatory language. Yorkshire had previously admitted four charges, including a failure to address systemic use of racist and/or discriminatory language at the club over a prolonged period.
Sanctions against those charged will be announced at a later date. The CDC report did not suggest anyone had lied or acted out of malice, but instead considered whether the case as presented was sufficiently accurate and reliable, on the balance of probabilities, to rule out mistake. In its concluding remarks, the report stated that there can be no place for racism in cricket or in society generally.
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