Former England captain Michael Vaughan is among several high-profile people charged by the ECB on Wednesday after the governing body’s investigation into alleged racism at Yorkshire.
Although they are not criminal charges, a group including Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Gary Ballance and former head coach Andrew Gale, plus the club itself, will be subject to disciplinary hearings this autumn.
That will ensure Yorkshire’s racism saga, brought to light by former player Azeem Rafiq’s whistleblowing in August 2020, will extend beyond two years.
The latest twist comes seven months after Rafiq’s testimony at a parliamentary select committee as it was finally confirmed — after the ECB’s own probe into racism and other allegations of misconduct at Headingley — that a Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) panel will conduct a hearing in September or October.
The ECB have not named the individuals but Sportsmail understands Vaughan, England’s 2005 Ashes-winning captain and now a BBC TV and radio pundit, is one of that number.
Vaughan, 47, has ‘completely and categorically’ denied telling Rafiq and other Muslim players in 2009: ‘Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.’
He was named in the original inquiry into institutional racism at Headingley, which concluded with the club confirming last September that Rafiq had been the victim of ‘racial harassment and bullying’ and that seven of his 43 allegations had been upheld, but without disciplinary action for anybody.
Vaughan’s representatives declined to comment on Wednesday night. Hoggard, Bresnan and Ballance were also accused by Rafiq. Bresnan refused to comment.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan is among several high-profile names who were charged by the ECB after the investigation into alleged racism at Yorkshire
Gary Ballance (pictured) and former head coach Andrew Gale, plus the club itself will be subject to disciplinary hearings this autumn
Ex-England players Matthew Hoggard (left) and Tim Bresnan (right) will both face disciplinary hearings this autumn
Disciplinary hearings this autumn mean Yorkshire’s racism saga, brought to light by Azeem Rafiq’s whistleblowing in August 2020, will extend beyond two years
He apologised for bullying behaviour when his name came out last November but has denied ever being racist.
In contrast, Ballance admitted to referring to Rafiq as a ‘P***’ as part of ‘banter’ between them, and Hoggard called Rafiq to apologise for calling him ‘Rafa the Kaffir’ when the pair were team-mates a decade ago.
The charges are alleged breaches of ECB directive 3.3 of the sport’s code of conduct — relating to actions considered to be improper or which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or bring the ECB, cricket or any cricketer into disrepute — and their anti-discrimination code.
Under CDC regulations teams, registered cricketers, coaches employed after March 2018, umpires and match referees, registered agents, ECB committee members and anyone else who has agreed in writing to be bound by the ECB rules can be charged.
The investigation was prompted by allegations of racism made by former player Azeem Rafiq
Andrew Gale was one of 16 members of staff sacked in the aftermath of Rafiq’s revelations
The latter is relevant to former players who sign statutory regulations to abide by ECB guidelines when registering to represent first-class counties.
However, most of those charged are no longer involved in the sport and will have to weigh up whether to offer a plea in response.
Sanctions available to the CDC include: a caution on future conduct; a reprimand; an unlimited fine; playing bans; suspension of selection eligibility for matches; suspension or termination of registration; and completion of education programmes.
But Sportsmail understands potential punishment could extend to denial of entrance to grounds for those found guilty.
Rafiq said: ‘This has been another gruelling but necessary process. I hope this all means no young player ever goes through such pain again.
‘I am hopeful there will be some sense of closure for my family and me.’
Rafiq claimed Vaughan said ‘too many of you lot, we need to do something about it’ towards Yorkshire’s Asian players before a match in 2009
Yorkshire’s T20 captain David Willey has rubbished managing director Darren Gough’s claim that they tried to keep him but were not able to match the offer from Northamptonshire, where he will move in 2023.
As revealed by Sportsmail, Willey had agreed a long-term deal to extend his seven-year stay in Leeds with the previous regime but did not sign before the entire coaching staff were sacked last December.
‘The comments made by Yorkshire around my contract discussions with the club are inaccurate,’ he wrote on Instagram.
Willey, 32, said of his four-year agreement to return to Wantage Road: ‘Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the recent events at the club have made my work environment unsettling.
‘The cricket and the current players seem to be secondary at the moment to repairing the clubs (sic) reputation.
‘It certainly felt that way for me over the past 12 months. I play cricket because I love the game. I just want to play somewhere that cricket is the focus and where I feel valued on and off the field.’
David Willey has rubbished managing director Darren Gough’s claim of trying to keep him at Yorkshire but could not match the offer his former side Northamptonshire made