ECB refusing to fly Rashid back from Bangladesh to attend racism trial

ECB are REFUSING to fly Adil Rashid back from England’s one-day matches in Bangladesh to attend the Yorkshire racism trial because it is too expensive, with the leg-spinner a key witness in case against Michael Vaughan

  • The Yorkshire hearing clashes with England’s one-day tour to Bangladesh
  • The ECB are offering to make Rashid available to attend the hearing remotely
  • Their claims regarding cost and time have been queried by the defendants 

The ECB are refusing to fly Adil Rashid back from England’s one-day games in Bangladesh to attend the Yorkshire racism trial next month by making the extraordinary claim that it is too expensive. 

The England leg-spinner has emerged as the ECB’s key witness in their case against Ashes-winning captain Michael Vaughan, who has been accused of using racist language towards former Yorkshire team-mate Azeem Rafiq, but the governing body are unwilling to make him available at the hearing.

In their formal response to a request for Rashid to give evidence in person the ECB have argued that it would ‘disproportionately expensive and time-consuming’ to fly Rashid back to England ‘to give evidence for a very short period of time.’ The Yorkshire hearing is due to take place between 1 and 8 March and clashes with England’s one-day and Twenty20 series in Bangladesh, with six matches scheduled between 1 and 14 March. 

The ECB are offering to make Rashid available to attend for a brief period remotely.

The ECB’s claims regarding cost and time have been queried by the defendants, as the governing body made a profit of £21.5million last year on a turnover of £303m. Moreover, the case has already dragged on for 15 months, and the ECB have spent around £200,000 on legal fees in bringing charges against Yorkshire and seven former players.

Adil Rashid will not be permitted to fly back from the Bangladesh tour to attend the Yorkshire racism trial

Rashid is employed by the ECB on a central white-ball contract worth £350,000 annually in basic pay, with a further £150,000 paid to him in bonuses and appearance fees last year. Return business class flights from Dhaka to London next month are available from £3000, with economy fares costing half that amount.

The ECB’s handling of the disciplinary process has been criticised by all sides and suffered a major set-back last week when Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan and John Blain joined Andrew Gale in pulling out of proceedings. All four ex-Yorkshire players claimed they would be unable to get a fair trial and cited frustration at the ECB’s alleged refusal to disclose key documents, as previously reported by Sportsmail last week. Gary Ballance and Richard Pyrah have yet to formally withdraw however, while Vaughan is determined to clear his name as he has not been able to work as pundit since being charged by the ECB last June.

Vaughan’s legal team are also contesting the ECB’s claim that Rashid will only be required to give evidence ‘for a very short period of time,’ as his testimony is pivotal to the entire case. 

The 34-year-old stayed silent for 15 months after Rafiq first claimed he had been racially abused by a Yorkshire team-mate in August 2020 before belatedly endorsing allegations that Vaughan said ‘too many of you lot’ to a group of Asian Yorkshire players before a Twenty20 match in 2009.

Rashid’s claims have been questioned by another Yorkshire player who was present at the scene of Vaughan’s alleged ‘you lot comments,’ with former England fast bowler Azmal Shahzad suggesting his former team-mate has been pressured by Rafiq into changing his story

‘I question whether he’s accurate in what he’s saying,’ Shahzad told the ECB in a formal interview. ‘I think Adil is being pressurised. He backed up Azeem’s allegations two days before they went to a parliamentary hearing. Why? I can only think that some sort of external pressure was put on to him.’

Vaughan’s lawyers have also expressed unhappiness with the ECB’s decision to schedule the hearing when England are in Bangladesh given Rashid’s importance to proceedings. To compound their frustration Rashid has 10 days off when the Twenty20 Series finishes on 14 March before going to play for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

The ECB declined to comment.

Michael Vaughan is attempting to clear his name after denying claims made by Azeem Rafiq

Rafiq claimed Vaughan made a ‘you lot’ comment to a group of Yorkshire‘s Asian players

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