EXCLUSIVE: ECB prosecution of Michael Vaughan and five other former Yorkshire cricketers on racism charges to begin TOMORROW… as concerns are raised over many potentially crucial witnesses being unable to give evidence due to non-disclosure agreements
- A hearing of the ECB’s Cricket Disciplinary Committee will be held tomorrow
- Vaughan is among those charged with using racist language towards Azeem Rafiq
- Ex-England internationals Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance have also been charged
- Their legal teams are expected to raise alleged flaws in the ECB’s investigation
The ECB’s prosecution of Michael Vaughan and five other former Yorkshire cricketers on racism charges will begin tomorrow with a preliminary hearing of their Cricket Disciplinary Committee.
Ex-England internationals Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance have also been charged for allegedly using racist language towards Azeem Rafiq, as have former Yorkshire players Richard Pyrah and John Blain, although former captain Andrew Gale is refusing to comply with a process he has denounced as a witch-hunt.
The six other defendants including Vaughan deny the charges and will mount a vigorous defence, with their legal teams expected to begin by pointing out alleged flaws in the ECB’s investigation.
The ECB’s prosecution of Michael Vaughan and five other former Yorkshire cricketers on racism charges will begin tomorrow
He was charged by the ECB with the alleged use of racist language to Azeem Rafiq (pictured)
Sportsmail has learned that there are concerns that many potentially crucial witnesses will be unable to give evidence as they have been required to sign non-disclosure agreements by Yorkshire, while other key individuals are currently out of the country and therefore unable to testify in person.
The CDC will be chaired by former Derbyshire batsman Tim O’Gorman, who will invite the players’ and the ECB’s lawyers to make their initial presentations.
The full hearing is not expected to take place until the end of the season, with the ECB able to issue heavy fines or bans from cricket to any individual found guilty.
Azeem Rafiq (pictured) during a testimony to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee following his allegations last year
Rafiq pictured bowling for Yorkshire during a County Championship match against Surrey in September 2012
The charges arise from alleged breaches of ECB directive 3.3, which states that ‘no participant may conduct themselves in a manner, do any act or make any omission at any time which is improper or which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer or group of cricketers into disrepute.’
Vaughan has said he ‘completely and categorically denies’ the allegation made by Rafiq, that before a Yorkshire match in 2009 he said to four non-white players: ‘There’s too many of you lot, we are going to have to do something about that.’