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Michael Vaughan WILL commentate on the Ashes this winter despite being named in Azeem Rafiq report

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Michael Vaughan WILL commentate on the Ashes this winter despite BBC suspension after being named in Azeem Rafiq report… with Fox Sports – who will provide the audio to BT Sport – backing former England captain

  • BT Sport confirmed they will broadcast live television coverage of the Ashes 
  • Michael Vaughan was stood down from his programme on BBC Radio 5 Live 
  • Vaughan was named in the report into Yorkshire’s treatment of Azeem Rafiq 
  • But he will be heard by UK audience whatever the result of BBC investigation

Michael Vaughan is set to commentate on the Ashes despite being suspended by the BBC for allegedly using racist language towards Azeem Rafiq, because he has the backing of Australian rights-holders Fox Sports, who will provide the audio to BT Sport this winter.

BT Sport confirmed on Monday they will broadcast live television coverage of the Ashes as part of a new four-year deal with Cricket Australia, as revealed by Sportsmail in August, which will mean Vaughan being heard by a UK audience whatever the outcome of the BBC’s investigation into his behaviour towards Rafiq.

Vaughan was stood down from his weekly programme on BBC Radio 5 Live last week after admitting he was named in the independent report into Yorkshire’s treatment of Rafiq. Vaughan categorically denies any racism.

Michael Vaughan is set to commentate on the Ashes despite being suspended by the BBC

Michael Vaughan is set to commentate on the Ashes despite being suspended by the BBC

Vaughan was stood down from his weekly programme on BBC Radio 5 Live last week

Vaughan was stood down from his weekly programme on BBC Radio 5 Live last week

Rafiq has alleged that during a County Championship match in 2009, the former England captain said to him and three other Asian players, ‘There are too many of you lot. We need to do something about it.’

Vaughan’s future at the BBC is likely to be determined by the nature of testimony given at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing on November 16, when Rafiq and Yorkshire’s executives have been called to give evidence.

Former Pakistan fast bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan told Sportsmail last week that he backed Rafiq’s version of events, but former England seamer Ajmal Shahzad has previously said that he did not hear the exchange at which he was allegedly present.

It came after admitting he was named in the independent report into Yorkshire's treatment of Azeem Rafiq

It came after admitting he was named in the independent report into Yorkshire’s treatment of Azeem Rafiq

BBC executives are understood to be extremely nervous about backing Vaughan, given the sensitivity of the allegations against him, but he has been reassured that he has the backing of Fox.

The 47-year-old has a long-term contract with Fox, who even continued to pay him last winter despite border restrictions preventing him from travelling to Australia to cover their Test series with India.

As Sportsmail reported last month, BT are not sending a commentary team to Australia and their coverage will come from a studio in London anchored by experienced broadcaster Matt Smith, with former England captains Sir Alastair Cook and Sir Andrew Strauss on punditry. 

The Fox commentary team to be used by BT will include Australia Test greats Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Waugh.

BT are not sending a commentary team to Australia and their Ashes coverage will come from London

BT are not sending a commentary team to Australia and their Ashes coverage will come from London

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