Michael Vaughan steps back from BBC duties in light of ‘ongoing dialogue’

Michael Vaughan has made the decision to “step back from work with the BBC” in light of the “ongoing dialogue” around the former England cricket captain’s broadcasting role with Test Match Special for the three-Test series against New Zealand.

Vaughan was dropped from coverage of the Ashes last November after he was accused by several players of making a racist comment before a Yorkshire game in 2009. He has repeatedly and categorically denied doing so.

It emerged last week that Vaughan had been charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary commission with bringing the game into disrepute, in relation to accusations first aired by Azeem Rafiq, who claimed the former England captain told a group of Muslim players in 2009 there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”.

The charge caused the BBC Sport’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic group to send an email to staff at the corporation criticising the “totally inexcusable” decision to employ the 47-year-old. The BBC subsequently acknowledged staff had “raised concerns”.

“On numerous occasions, I have put on record my views on the issues concerning YCCC,” Vaughan said in a statement on Tuesday evening. “It is always regrettable when commentary on matters off the field take the focus away from what’s happening on the field. In view of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, I have taken the decision to step back from my work with the BBC for the time being.

“The key driver for this is my concern for the wellbeing of my family members and my wish to protect their family life. Stepping back temporarily is also in the interests of the game and I hope that it will minimise any difficulties for my work colleagues.”

Following Vaughan’s announcement, the BBC said in a statement: “Following conversations with Michael Vaughan we have accepted his decision to step away from our cricket coverage. This is a decision we respect and understand. Michael remains under contract to the BBC.”