EXCLUSIVE: Michael Vaughan WAS EXILE from UK coverage of England’s Ashes series with Australia when BT Sport hatched plans to block his comment on the Fox Sports broadcast after BBC Radio rejected it in the wake of accusations of racism from Azeem Rafiq.
Michael Vaughan will be exiled from English coverage of The Ashes this winter due to accusations of racism made against him by Azeem Rafiq, and BT Sport made it clear that it will not air any comments involving the former England captain when the series begins in Brisbane next. month.
The winning captain of the ashes in 2005 was removed by BBC radio for ‘editorial reasons’ earlier today, and Sportsmail He has learned that he will also be barred from appearing on BT Sport, which has the exclusive UK television rights for the five-game series.
BT Sport’s position is complicated by the fact that they will not send a team of commentators to Australia and instead plan to use an audio feed provided by Australian rights holders Fox Sports, who have a long-standing contract with Vaughan that they plan to honor.
Michael Vaughan’s comment during this winter’s ashes will not be heard in the UK.
BT Sport executives are understood to have told Fox that they do not want to take a feed with Vaughan, however, and will make alternate arrangements for comment if necessary.
Fox has so far indicated that they plan to support Vaughan, but may come under pressure to change their position as the BBC has fired him.
Otherwise, BT Sport will alter their own plans, potentially causing them to try to form their own team to comment remotely from a studio in London or take a cue from the other Australian Channel 7 rights holders, whose team of commentators from the ashes includes Sir. Ian Botham, Ricky Ponting, Damien Fleming, and Simon Katich.
Vaughan has previously appeared on BT Sport as an independent expert, but does not have a contract with the broadcaster unlike Fox, whose team of commentators BT planned to use also includes Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh.
The 47-year-old strongly denies making racist comments towards Rafiq, but the BBC has chosen not to use him on Test Match Special or Radio Five Live this winter due to the accusations made against him.
“ While he is involved in a major history in cricket, for editorial reasons we do not believe it is appropriate for Michael Vaughan to have a role on our Ashes team or broader coverage of the sport at this time, ” the BBC said in a statement. .
“We require our employees to speak out on relevant topics and their involvement in Yorkshire history represents a conflict of interest.”
Vaughan issued a defiant statement yesterday insisting that he is looking forward to traveling to Australia to work for Fox.
“Very disappointed to not be commenting for TMS on the Ashes and will miss working with great colleagues and friends but am looking forward to being behind the mic for @foxcricket in Australia,” he posted on Instagram.
“The problems cricket faces are more important 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 everyone.”
Rafiq has alleged that Vaughan told him ‘too many of you, we have to do something about it’ to him and three other players ahead of a Twenty20 Blast match for Yorkshire in 2009.
The former bowler’s account was supported by former Pakistani bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and England’s leg thrower Adil Rashid, although the group’s fourth player Azmal Shahzad has said he does not recall the incident.