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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Sunderland

Michael Vaughan statement in full as ex-England skipper declares there are "no winners"

Former England Test captain Michael Vaughan has said "there are no winners" after the ECB's Cricket Discipline Commission cleared him of using racist language in 2009.

Vaughan was among those charged with verbally abusing some of his former Yorkshire team-mates during that period. It was alleged the Eccles native had told Azeem Rafiq, Adil Rashid, Ajmal Shahzad and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan: "There's too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that."

A CDC panel found each of Tim Bresnan, John Blain, Andrew Gale, Matthew Hoggard and Richard Pyrah were liable for breaching ECB Directive 3.3, which relates to bringing the game into disrepute. However, Vaughan was found not guilty of the same charge.

"It has been both difficult and upsetting to hear about the painful experiences which Azeem has described over the past 3 years," read a statement from the 48-year-old following Friday's judgement. "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 in society generally.

"As with others who have spoken about their time at Yorkshire, I can only speak of my own experiences and of my own time there. The dismissal of the specific charge that concerned me takes nothing away from Azeem's own lived experiences.

"The hearing made public that Azeem and I met eighteen months ago, well before the CDC proceedings came into existence. I told him then that I am sorry for his unacceptable, negative experiences at the club I love and in the sport I love. We had what I thought was a really positive and constructive discussion. We shook hands with a shared intention to work together in order to create positive change in cricket. For my part, nothing has altered in that respect. There is still a job to do and I remain keen to help bring about positive change in any way that I can. Cricket has been my life."

Michael Vaughan said "there are no winners" after he was cleared of using racist language against former team-mates (AP)

Rafiq first raised a complaint with cricket giants Yorkshire in 2018 regarding claims he had suffered racial and other forms of abuse at the hands of team-mates and other figures at the club. However, it wasn't until 2020 that an independent inquiry was launched.

Former team-mate Gary Ballance and the club itself previously accepted charges of bringing the game into disrepute. However, guilty trio Bresnan, Blain and Hoggard will have any sanctions determined at a later date, along with former coaches Gale and Pyrah.

"Particularly with an issue such as this, CDC proceedings were an inappropriate, inadequate and backwards step," Vaughan continued. "One of many reasons why I hold that view is because CDC proceedings are adversarial. They invite claim and counterclaim. 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 team-mates, 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. Despite being criticised by the ECB for not accusing others of lying. I remain of the view that no good can come of that approach.

"There are no winners in this process and there are better ways — there have to be better ways - for cricket to move forward positively and effectively."

Vaughan was found not guilty of bringing the game into disrepute (AFP via Getty Images)

It was determined by the CDC that the allegation regarding Vaughan's comment that there were "too many of you lot" had not been proven. The judgement did, however, outline it did "not in any way undermine the wider assertions made by AZR [Azeem Rafiq]" given other figures and the club had confirmed numerous other details.

"I have never wanted to do anything that runs contrary to genuine efforts to clean up the game of cricket," concluded Vaughan. "I truly hope people can understand why, on a personal level, I could not just accept, or apologise for, something which I know I did not do.

"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."

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